The EPA will issue a proposal for carbon-emission regulations on new coal plants next week.
The coal industry is waiting to see the proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations that it says would prevent any new coal plants from being constructed and would kill the industry as a whole.
The EPA’s new proposed rules, which are scheduled to be released next week, would require new coal plants to install new technology to trap carbon emissions. The goal is to lower carbon emissions, which many experts state have caused a warming of the Earth’s temperature over the past 50 years.
The Obama administration has promoted clean-energy sources, with a significant push toward wind power, while pushing for regulations that would force coal plants to monitor and lessen their carbon emissions. Coal plants currently are responsible for 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions.
The rules to be released next week deal only with new plants. Rules for existing plants are not scheduled to be issued until 2014.
Megan Ceronsky, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, told Bloomberg News that the lower cost of natural gas, a cleaner form of energy, is playing a role in the future of coal plant production.
“The companies themselves are documenting the fact that it is the widespread availability of low-cost natural gas, and to some degree wind power, that is eroding the viability of coal,’’ Ceronsky said.
The new EPA proposals were changed after legal pushes by coal industry lobbyists forced a reconsideration of the law. The problem was that the original proposal would have natural gas and coal producers operating under the same guidelines, and natural gas plants average about half of carbon emissions of a coal plant.
The costs of carbon-capturing technology would push the price of coal even higher, having a huge negative effect on the industry, according to lobbyists.
Arguing against the lobbyists is the Southern Co. coal plant being built in Kemper County, Miss., which is going to capture its carbon dioxide, combine it with natural gas and sell it to an oil company nearby. The new mixture is then pumped down into the oil field, where it pushes up more crude oil, and the carbon dioxide remains underground.
“It makes every existing coal plan seem pretty obsolete,’’ said John Thompson of the Clean Air Task Force in an interview with Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, China has announced it is banning construction of new coal-fired power plants near its biggest cities in hopes of improving the air quality there. Whereas the United States gets about 35 percent of its electricity from coal, China currently gets 70 percent of its electricity from coal.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.