EPA Rule Rollback Aimed at Boosting Coal Plant Development

Dec 5, 2018

A coal stockpile at Kayenta Mine.
Credit OVR

  The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce it is rolling back Obama-era regulations that required newly-built coal plants to strictly limit carbon emissions.

Industry advocates argued the rule made it nearly impossible to build new coal plants because it required the installation of expensive carbon capture technology.

But experts say it’s unlikely that the EPA’s rollback will reverse the trend.

James Van Nostrand, director of West Virginia University's Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, says weakening the rule won’t change the economics: cheap natural gas and renewable sources are more cost competitive than coal.

"Enjoy the symbolic victory, but it doesn’t do anything in terms of bringing jobs back or bringing production up," he said.

 

Data released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration show 2018 U.S. coal consumption is expected to hit the lowest level in 39 years.