coalplugThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft rules on September 20th, to limit carbon emissions from new coal power plants. The proposed rules are part of President Obama’s broader Climate Action Plan aimed at combating climate change and improving public health, according to the EPA.

Under the rules, new coal-fired power plants would be limited to 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, or could opt to meet stricter average emissions limits that grant additional operational flexibility. The rules also would require new plants to implement partial carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

Critics of the proposed rules argue that they will cripple the coal industry, by effectively banning the construction of new plants, and hurt the economy. “The facts are plain and simple: coal provides the greatest share of electricity we use, generating around 40 percent of our power … If these regulations go into effect, American jobs will be lost, electricity prices will soar and economic uncertainty will grow,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.). Opponents are expected to target the legality of the rule’s requirement that companies incorporate CCS technology into new plants, which many argue to be prohibitively expensive,  [Reuters].

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune told the L.A. Times that he agrees the new rules would effectively prevent construction of new coal plants: “Can you build a coal plant after this? No,” said Mr. Brune. “It’s not commercially feasible to build a new coal plant, period.”

What is your view on the EPA’s proposed rules limiting new coal power plant emissions?

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