Publicado: Sol, Diciembre 09, 2018
Ciencia | Por Aurelio Ontiveros

EPA Proposes Rollback on Coal Emissions Regulation

EPA Proposes Rollback on Coal Emissions Regulation

Administrator Andrew Wheeler today announced a proposal to roll back power plant carbon standards, set in 2015, that had required lowered carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified and reconstructed coal-fired power plants.

According to the Energy Information Administration, US coal consumption is at its lowest since 1939.

Americans are consuming less coal in 2018 than at any time since Jimmy Carter's presidency, a federal report said Tuesday, as cheap natural gas and other rival sources of energy frustrate the Trump administration's pledges to revive the US coal industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would revise its "New Source Performance Standards" for coal power plants, allowing coal-fired generators to emit more Carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity generated. He spoke alongside Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, a long-time opponent of former President Barack Obama's limits on carbon emissions.

"The standards effectively ban the construction of new coal power plants-a policy Congress never approved and would not pass if put to a vote", Lewis said in a statement.

The latest Trump administration environmental rollback, if adopted, likely would have little real-world impact, both industry representatives and environmental activists said.

The EPA will collect public comments on the proposal for 60 days and plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule change.

Sen. Tom Carper released a statement December 6 regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to ease carbon dioxide limits placed on new coal-fired power plants.

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EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned and President Trump has picked EPA Deputy Director Andrew Wheeler to serve as acting Director. He argued the result of the rollback would be cheaper energy.

"This is just one more step this administration is taking that shows a pretty complete disregard for public health and the health of the planet, in favor of what appears here to be a pretty elusive goal", said Janet McCabe, who served as acting assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation during the Obama administration and helped shape the existing rule.

"With today's action we have leaned forward to address the various states' issues, while appropriately ensuring that we will continue to be focused on meaningfully addressing the threats to the Greater Sage-Grouse", Bernhardt said. But he added "a lot of the media's focused on is the worst-case scenario".

Power generators in the United States will close down coal-fired power plants with 14.3 gigawatts of capacity this year, more than twice the 7.0 gigawatts of capacity retired in 2017, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

New coal plants are unlikely in the US, no matter what Trump does, because of cheap and cleaner-burning natural gas, along with increasingly cheap renewables. Still, it also lists plans for 77 retirements.

Asked about easing the way for new coal plants in the context of the harm from coal pollution on humans and the environment, Wheeler said "having cheap electricity helps human health".

The Trump administration took aim at two Obama-era environmental policies on Thursday to boost the oil and coal industries, proposing to open up a wildlife habitat to drilling and mining and to remove hurdles to the construction of coal-fired power plants.

Jay Duffy, a lawyer with the Clean Air Task Force environmental nonprofit, called the level-playing field argument of the administration and its supporters "laughable".

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