Quantcast

Trump's EPA Wants to Build More Coal Plants as U.S. Consumption Falls to Lowest Level in 39 Years

Energy
maxpixel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is currently overseen by ex-coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, is expected to announce a plan to end a climate regulation on coal-fired power plants on Thursday, the New York Times reported, citing four unnamed sources.

The move would lift an Obama-era rule that required newly built coal-fired plants to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, ultimately removing a hurdle to build new plants, the publication said.


That mandate, finalized in 2015, has previously faced legal challenges from coal companies and conservative lawmakers who argue that CCS is too costly and not commercially available, as Utility Dive noted.

"We are supportive of EPA's decision to revise the standards for new coal plants," Michelle Bloodworth, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, told the Washington Examiner in a report published Tuesday. "We do not feel like the practicality of CCS has been adequately demonstrated or economically feasible. If we are ever going to build new coal plants in the country again, we will need reasonable standards."

The Trump administration's latest environmental rollback is not expected to immediately jumpstart investments and construction of new coal plants, which are not financially viable because of cheap natural gas and environmental regulations, the Times said.

Rather, it's a yet another signal from the Trump administration that it is ignoring dire climate warnings and embracing the polluting fossil fuel industry instead.

Incidentally, a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday found that the nation's coal consumption in 2018 is expected to be the lowest in 39 years. That decline is partly due to retirements of coal-fired power plants that have shuttered due to low natural gas prices, environmental concerns and emissions standards required by the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, the report said.

Of course, Trump's EPA has already proposed significantly weakening the 2011 MATS rule that limits the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions from coal plants. In October, news got out that acting EPA administrator Wheeler drafted a plan that would undermine the regulation.

"Coal use is at its lowest level in nearly four decades and the Trump Administration can't stop this country from continuing to move beyond coal," Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, said in a press release. "The EIA's announcement shows major progress for communities across our country who've worked feverishly over the past decade to shift America away from dirty, expensive coal plants that poison their communities and add to the climate crisis."

"It's also another repudiation of the Trump administration's agenda, which has relentlessly attacked clean air safeguards, denied science, and peddled alternative facts just so its corporate polluter allies can make a buck," Hitt added.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Large food companies are following in the footsteps of fast-food restaurants such as Burger King and KFC by offering meat alternatives. Getty Images

By Elizabeth Pratt

  • Hormel, Kellogg's, and Kroger are among the large companies now planning to offer "fake meat" products at grocery stores.
  • Experts say the trend toward plant-based meats coincides with consumers' desires to eat less meat.
  • However, experts urge consumers to closely check package labels as a product isn't necessarily healthy just because it's described as plant-based.

In grocery stores and fast-food outlets around the U.S., a revolution is taking place.

Read More Show Less
Colombia rainforest. Marcel Oosterwijk / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Torsten Krause

Many of us think of the Amazon as an untouched wilderness, but people have been thriving in these diverse environments for millennia. Due to this long history, the knowledge that Indigenous and forest communities pass between generations about plants, animals and forest ecology is incredibly rich and detailed and easily dwarfs that of any expert.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
picture-alliance / Newscom / R. Ben Ari

By Wesley Rahn

Plastic byproducts were found in 97 percent of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, MS, NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS

Written by James Roland

Hot yoga has become a popular exercise in recent years. It offers many of the same benefits as traditional yoga, such as stress reduction, improved strength, and flexibility.

Read More Show Less
Lara Hata / iStock / Getty Images

By SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

Rice is a staple in many people's diets. It's filling, inexpensive, and a great mild-tasting addition to flavorful dishes.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Hinterhaus Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Lindsay Campbell

From pastries to plant-based—we've got you covered.

Read More Show Less
An image of the trans-alaskan oil pipeline that carries oil from the northern part of Alaska all the way to valdez. This shot is right near the arctic national wildlife refuge. kyletperry / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Trump administration has initialized the final steps to open up nearly 1.6 million acres of the protected Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to allow oil and gas drilling.

Read More Show Less
Westend61 / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Vegetarianism has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Read More Show Less