EPA to strike blow against climate rules, reports say

The Coal Industry Is At Its Lowest Point Since 1979

The Coal Industry Is At Its Lowest Point Since 1979

President Trump campaigned on a promise to bring back coal jobs and lift regulations he said were throttling the US economy.

According to anonymous sources speaking to The New York Times, the EPA will announce a rollback of this rule on Thursday, effectively making it possible for energy companies to build new coal plants that emit up to 1,900 pounds of CO 2 per MWh, which is more in-line with emissions from modern coal plants without carbon capture. The shale boom created a glut of cheap natural gas in America, and the costs to deploy wind and solar continue to plunge.

USA coal consumption in 2018 is expected to be the lowest since 1979 and fall further still next year, as a near-record number of coal plants closed in 2018, according to a December 4 report by the Energy Information Administration. Tougher pollution rules are also causing coal to lose some market shares. He and other Republicans frequently attacked former President Barack Obama for waging what they called a "war on coal" through increased regulations that Republicans said killed jobs and harmed the industry.

The move dovetails with the EPA's separate effort to dramatically weaken an Obama administration regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

"The coal industry is back", Trump declared at one rally in West Virginia last summer.

Trump "talks tough to the coal miners to get their support, but he doesn't deliver for them, and I don't think that he can, because the markets are bigger than him", said Joe Pizarchik, who directed the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in the Obama administration.

Pizarchik, now a consultant on water quality and reforestation, said lower prices for natural gas and renewables will continue to drive down demand for coal, despite deregulation efforts by the Trump administration. The Energy Information Administration wrote that coal consumption by the USA grid will end down 4 percent this year.

Ironically, the new tax law approved by the Republican-controlled Congress has encouraged coal plants to close, as utilities use a provision that allows them to accelerate depreciation costs for closing plants, he said.

Spokespeople for the US departments of Energy and Interior did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday. Next year, it's expected to drop by 8 percent.