In 2015, coal-fired power plants supplied roughly 33% of all electric power used in the United States. 2016 and 2017, however, saw something much different.
According to Forbes, since November 2016, a coal power plant was shut down roughly one out of every 15 days. Despite President Donald Trump’s plan for “Energy Dominance” and coal revival, 27 coal-fired plants, totaling 22 gigawatts (GW) of energy capacity, were announced for early closure or conversion throughout 2017.
Although many coal plants have been shut down, and many more are expecting the same fate, the Environmental Protection Agency, under Trump’s administration, is still promising its own version of climate change regulations for these plants, the environment, and business groups and stakeholders.
In an effort to replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, the EPA states that the plan “exceeds the agency’s statutory authority.”
Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, stated that the new plan would follow the rules of the law, however, as opposed to Obama’s plan, which “overreached.”
“Today’s move ensures adequate and early opportunity for public comment from all stakeholders about next steps the agency might take to limit greenhouse gases from stationary sources, in a way that properly stays within the law, and the bounds of the authority provided to EPA by Congress,” added Pruitt.
Environmental groups have consistently opposed the proposed environmental plan, saying that it’s a “do-nothing substitute.”
“[The] EPA’s misguided strategy not only fails to tackle the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, but also would produce 4,500 premature deaths each year from other pollutants the Clean Power Plan would cut,” said Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice.
Coal plant operators and business groups, however, welcomed the changes and hope it will lead to improved regulations of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our hope is that today’s request for input will begin a true collaboration between the federal government, state, and all stake holders,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute.