Energy Policy: EPA Moves to Cut Coal Emissions by 50%


If the EPA’s latest move to cut coal emissions is successful, it will become nearly impossible for companies to build the kind of coal-fired electric plants that have been the country’s biggest source of electricity for decades. Under the EPA’s proposal, which the agency released last Friday, any new coal plants would be limited to just half the harmful coal emissions as the average coal-fired power plants emit today.

The EPA proposal aims to help the White House meet the goals of President Obama’s environmental “Action Plan” to cut greenhouse gas emissions by attacking the coal industry – which, according to them, is the largest single source in the United States, pumping out some 40% of the nation’s deadly greenhouse gases. Under the new laws, future coal plants would be limited to emitting 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, with a slightly higher limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour for smaller, natural-gas generators (another nail in the “natural gas is a clean industry” coffin, IMO).

Of course, the coal industry is totally against the EPA plan to cut coal emissions. “Our customers have to agree to foot that bill,” says Nick Akins, president and CEO of American Electric Power, one of the country’s largest utilities. They “won’t go for it”.

Nick, apparently, is hoping that his industry’s efforts to side-step existing disclosure laws through intermediary energy providers and distort the facts and opinions surrounding alternative electrical energy sources like wind and ethanol will work. I, on the other hand, am hoping the coal industry goes under, Akins goes broke, and his kids are forced to find jobs that don’t destroy America’s environmental future and damage the health of our children and grand-children.

We’ll all see how that goes if and when the EPA proposal goes through.


Sources | Photos: Cleantechnica, NPR, Union of Concerned Scientists, Wikipedia.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.