Quantcast
Energy
maxpixel

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

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.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
In a recent expedition, Gaelin Rosenwaks found plastic in the Great Blue Hole in Belize. Lomingen / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Inspiring Interview Urges You to Cut Plastic Consumption

2018 was the year for plastic pollution awareness. One good aspect of the plastic crisis is the fact that we can solve it. Getting involved with solutions is an easy way to have our voices heard globally.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Proterra is one of several companies manufacturing electric buses in California. Jeffrey D. Allred

Buses Are the Electric Vehicle Everyone Should Be Talking About. Here's Why.

By Adrian Martinez

Dean Florez is preparing for what he calls "one of the biggest votes I've ever taken" as an air regulator at an influential agency with national clout.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A river cleanup in Union County, New Jersey. Paige Bollman / CC BY 2.0

Want to Help Endangered Species? Here’s How to Take Action Locally

One of the questions people ask me most often is what they can do locally to help endangered species. Well, I recently appeared on the Green Divas podcast to talk about that very subject. We discussed the horror of lawns, the danger of cars, great ways to volunteer, and other efforts you can take to make your neck of the woods a little bit safer for rare plants and wildlife.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Southern Resident killer whale mother and her calf swimming. NOAA

Washington Gov. Proposes 'Herculean Effort' to Save 74 Remaining Southern Resident Orcas

With only 74 left in the wild, the Southern Resident orca population in Puget Sound needs help now more than ever. That's why on Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's office announced "an unprecedented investment" to help boost the population as well as the Chinook salmon they eat.

"We are undertaking a herculean effort to save these iconic creatures. It will take action at every level of the environment across our entire state," Inslee said in a news release. "We need to restore the ecosystem to one that sustains orcas, salmon and the quality of life for all Washingtonians."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Amber Lamoreaux / Pexels

Major UK Supermarket to Ban Glitter From Own-Brand Products

British supermarket Waitrose announced Friday that it will ban glitter from its own-brand products by Christmas 2020.

The upscale retailer said its labels, wrap, flowers, plants and other single-use items will either be glitter-free or use an environmentally friendly alternative.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Natural pine trees can liven up Christmas and the environment when they are replanted after. Cavan Images / Getty Images

5 Ways to Have a Green Christmas (and Help the Planet)

It's pretty common this time of year to hear the song White Christmas, but at EcoWatch we want folks to have a green Christmas. With a couple of tips, you can make sure your winter festivities have a smaller carbon footprint. Here are five ways you can have a more environmentally friendly holiday.

1. Give Green Gifts
Share your love of the planet by giving gifts that are good for the environment. Need ideas? The EcoWatch staff rounded up their favorite gifts, and USA Today highlights items such as iTunes gift cards, reusable straws, organic wine and non-toxic cosmetics in their story about purchasing green presents.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Kingborough Council

Tasmania Builds Road From Single-Use Plastics, Glass and Printer Toner

A local government in Tasmania found a clever way to recycle single-use plastics and other landfill-bound waste by building a new road.

The 500-meter (1,640-foot) stretch outside the city of Hobart is made of approximately 173,600 plastic bags and packaging, as well as 82,500 glass bottle equivalents diverted from landfill, the Kingborough council announced Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Alchemy Goods / Bambaw / LuminAID

EcoWatch's Favorite Green Gifts for the Holidays

The holidays are coming and if you're stuck on what to give your eco-conscious friend or relative, we've got you covered. At EcoWatch, we're big fans of homemade presents, products that actually help the planet, and putting our dollars towards a good cause. This year, our staff has rounded up some of the best green gifts we've given and received, as well as the items on our wish list.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!