Tags: epa | coal | power | plant

EPA: Coal Power Plants Not Likely to Be Built in the Future

Image: EPA: Coal Power Plants Not Likely to Be Built in the Future Limits on carbon dioxide emissions may prevent construction of coal-burning power plants like the Colstrip Steam Electric Station in Montana.

Friday, 20 Sep 2013 06:41 PM

By Robin Farmer

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The EPA said Friday that coal power plants in use today may not be built in the future as part of a proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants to fight pollution.

Coal-fired plants, the nation’s largest source of electricity for decades, could not meet the new standard without an exorbitant price tag for the technology needed to curb emissions, USA Today reported.

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While coal-fired plants provided 18 percent of all energy consumed by the U.S in 2012, they accounted for 31 percent of energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"The sooner we get these protections in place," Vickie Patton, general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund, told NPR, "the clearer the signal [will be] that new power plants must do their fair share in addressing the heavy burden of carbon pollution on human health and the environment."

Critics say the technology is commercially unproven, expensive, and would lead to higher electric bills. The carbon rule would ban new coal-fired power plants, Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner at the Bracewell & Giuliani law firm who was a senior EPA official under President George W. Bush, told USA Today.

"I'm quite confident there will be a legal challenge," he said. "There's a good chance it will be overturned in court, but that's a few years away."

“Coal is ‘cheap’ because conventional capitalist economics treat the sky as a free landfill site for unwanted dangerous gas — such as excessive carbon dioxide. Green economics demands that polluters stop externalizing their costs and making the public pay for the polluters global warming," wrote a commenter on the USA Today article.

Wrote another: “What do you do with the areas that mine coal for a living? What do you do with the displaced coal miners? What do you do with the retailers and others who are dependent on the displaced coal miners for their business???? Do you put them all on the public dole??????”

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Related stories:

Southern Co. Takes $450 Million Charge on Coal-Fired Plant

Troubled Coal-Fired Power Plant Cleaning Up

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