OUR THOUGHTS ON:

Coal Industry Facing Increased Regulation

Energy & Resources

By Jason Droske

The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has proposed strict emission limits on new coal plants.

An article published by USA Today on September 20, 2013 stated the following:

"The EPA announced this morning its proposal to cap the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. Coal-fired plants -- unlike most natural gas facilities -- won't meet the standard without costly technology to capture and store carbon emissions."

Supporters of the proposal feel that the environmental regulation are necessary to keep the environment safe and sustainable for the next generation and is the socially responsible thing to do.

Critics say the proposals are not legal, since they require using a technology that is not yet proven commercially. The coal industry is especially concerned with these regulations, fearing that it will lead to a phase-out of coal as the nation's primary energy resource as natural gas plants will be largely unaffected by these regulations.

Many in the industry feel these proposals on new power plants are a prelude to further enhanced regulations on existing power plants. President Obama has directed the EPA to propose a standard for existing plants by June, and finalize it in 2015.

The rules on new power plants will face a 60-day public comment period. After the comment period, it is likely that intensive industry and environmental lobbying and possible court challenges will delay implementation. EPA officials believe the rules could be finalized by the fall of 2014.

The U.S. energy landscape is constantly changing, and the impacts of government can be substantial. Through regulation what is bad for coal may be good for natural gas, but it is unlikely the coal industry will take this fight lying down.

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