Trump to lift carbon-capture mandate for new coal plants, source says

December 5, 2018 by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
A coal power plant in Datteln, Germany, that transforms chemical energy into 36%-48% electricity and the remaining 52%-64% into waste heat. Image credit: Arnold Paul. Wikimedia Commons.

The Trump administration will propose scrapping an Obama-era mandate that new coal-fired power plants use carbon-capture technology, removing a major barrier to constructing the facilities, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The Environmental Protection Agency is slated to unveil the measure on Thursday, during an event at its headquarters in Washington, said the person, who was granted anonymity to discuss the proposal before the formal announcement.

The EPA is set to assert that the requirement for and storage technology fell short of a legal standard that it be "adequately demonstrated," mirroring an objection raised by power companies, coal miner Murray Energy Corp. and industry associations that have challenged the mandate in federal court.

Although the technology has been used at oil refineries and other facilities—including a coal-fired unit at an NRG Energy Inc. plant in Texas—it has not been widely deployed in the electricity sector.

The Obama administration regulation, finalized in 2015, imposed carbon dioxide limits on new and modified coal-fired power plants that could not be met without installing some kind of carbon-capture technology.

The proposed replacement would raise allowable carbon dioxide emissions from new and modified coal power plants. And that proposed threshold would be attainable without employing technology to strip out carbon dioxide emissions, while ensuring utilities use other advanced technologies to ensure coal is burned cleanly and efficiently, said the person familiar with the proposal.

The move dovetails with the EPA's separate effort to dramatically weaken an Obama administration regulation limiting from existing coal-fired . President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to bring back coal jobs and lift regulations he said were throttling the U.S. economy.

Yet the effort is unlikely to bring about a coal power renaissance in the U.S., as utilities increasingly shift to cheap, cleaner burning natural gas and zero-emission renewables. Since 2010, power plant owners have either retired or announced plans to retire at least 630 coal plants in 43 states—nearly 40 percent of the U.S. fleet, according to data by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

The EPA proposal will be subject to public comment and could be finalized next year.

Explore further: Bloomberg donates $64 million to fight Trump's coal agenda

Related Stories

Trump ready to ease rules on coal-fired power plants

August 21, 2018

The Trump administration is set to roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's efforts to slow global warming, the Clean Power Plan that restricts greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Power plant plan further clouds coal's future

June 3, 2014

President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to reduce the gases blamed for global warming from the nation's power plants gives many coal-dependent states more lenient restrictions—and won't necessarily be the primary reason ...

Obama officials: Rule won't kill coal-fired power

September 18, 2013

President Barack Obama's top energy and environmental officials said Wednesday there is a future for coal, despite a pending regulation aimed at limiting global warming pollution from new power plants that Republicans and ...

Trump's coal plan—neither clean nor affordable

August 23, 2018

Is climate change a problem? Consider the evidence: wildfires in California, Sweden and Siberia; flooding in coastal areas due to sea level rise; droughts in some places and extreme weather and rainfall in others; new and ...

Recommended for you

The long dry: global water supplies are shrinking

December 13, 2018

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like ...

New climate model to be built from the ground up

December 13, 2018

Facing the certainty of a changing climate coupled with the uncertainty that remains in predictions of how it will change, scientists and engineers from across the country are teaming up to build a new type of climate model ...

Death near the shoreline, not life on land

December 13, 2018

Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils—the tracks and trails left by ancient animals—in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.