The Obama administration plans to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with novel and expensive technology to capture greenhouse-gas emissions, according to people familiar with a draft proposal.
The administration's rule on emissions from new power plants, a long-awaited measure that is one of the capstones of the administration's climate-change agenda, is set to be formally proposed by the end of next week. While the new rule isn't final yet and is likely to face a legal challenge, it would be another blow to a coal industry already buffeted by a bonanza of cheap natural gas and increasing regulation.
The person and others briefed on the rule said such stringent limits would ban new coal plants, which generally release about twice as much carbon dioxide as the proposed limits. Even the newest, most advanced coal-fired power plants in the world would fall far short of that revised standard, they said.And of course, this hurts the middle class and poor people the most not only through an increase in utility costs but through job losses.
The only way coal plants could comply is to capture carbon-dioxide emissions and stick them underground—a costly process that hasn't been demonstrated at commercial scale before.
"This shows the administration discounts and does not appreciate the value of coal and how it can serve the country. You're impairing the backbone of the power grid," said Hal Quinn, chief executive of the National Mining Association, an industry trade group.
Utilities and manufacturers also worry the new rules could lead to an electricity supply crunch or rising prices for consumers. "For the first time ever, EPA is becoming a regulator of energy. The rule they're putting out there is going to force choices as to which energy you use, and that's a very disturbing concept for manufacturers, for businesses, for anybody that has to comply with these laws," said Ross Eisenberg, the vice president for energy policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group.
The EPA's suffocating restrictions have already killed 17,000 jobs and more than 250 coal plants are expected to shut down in the coming years due to being unable to comply with over zealous climate change regulations.
President and CEO Robert Duncan of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has issued a statement in response to the new regulations and standards, essentially saying these new regulations will run coal companies out of business because the standards are impossible to comply with.
“If reports are true, the EPA is set to issue a rule that will completely halt the development of new coal-fueled plants by requiring they meet unachievable carbon standards.
“The American people should not be fooled. If the EPA overreaches, its actions could drastically reduce our nation’s fuel options, risk tens-of-thousands of jobs and destroy, not encourage, the development of new carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
“We stand with millions of American consumers, businesses and workers who depend on reliable, affordable electricity generated from coal. America deserves a balanced energy plan that includes continued advancements in clean coal technology, not one that crushes innovation and guarantees a diminished economic future.”
The EPA's justification for these extremist measures is of course the "threat of global climate change." The problem is, the earth is actually cooling. On top of that, even if we reduced carbon emissions to zero, it would be impossible to tell the difference in the long term.
Don't say we didn't warn you.