Environmental Protection Agency regulatory proposals published in the Federal Register Wednesday detail the agency’s plan to effectively ban the construction of new coal fired plants in the U.S. unless they include clean coal technology.
The new rules would require new coal plants to meet emissions standards that many people in the coal industry say are unachievable using current technology. New plants would be forced to incorporate carbon capture and storage (CCS), a costly and unproven “family of technologies and techniques that enable the capture of CO₂ from fuel combustion or industrial processes.”
“By requiring CCS, EPA is placing a de facto ban on the construction of new coal-fueled power plants, handing over leadership of the development of CCS, and an estimated $1 trillion in economic benefits, to countries like China,” said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
The proposals come as other countries throughout the world are becoming more reliant on coal as a fuel source to meet increased need for electricity and bring down power costs. Chinese officials recently approved 100 million metric tons of new coal production. And in Germany, coal-fired power is making a comeback following years of electricity price increases resulting from heavy reliance on so-called green energy.
“Forcing America to abandon its largest and most reliable energy source is a reckless gamble with the nation’s economy,” Hal Quinn, president of the National Mining Association, said in a statement. “A more expensive and less diverse electricity supply will only stand in the way of economic growth and job creation.”