Trump Admin To End “War On Coal” By Eliminating Clean Power Plan

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt announced yesterday that the agency will start the process of withdrawing the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan was instituted by the Obama administration, designed to significantly cut emissions from coal fired power plants. During his announcement yesterday Pruitt said that President Trump’s message is clear, the war on coal is over. This is the latest step in the Trump administration’s efforts to revive the coal industry and boost domestic fossil fuel production.  According to Pruitt, the Clean Power Plan gave the government too much influence over power generation in the United States. Proponents of the Clean Power Plan decried Pruitt’s announcement, saying the federal government is legally required to limit carbon pollution and the clean power plan was an affordable way to achieve that goal. Those in favor of the repeal believe that regulations instituted under the plan were broader than laws allows. While experts agree the repeal could take pressure off cash-strapped utilities, they also believe market forces are moving most utilities away from coal. According to the Energy Information Administration, coal fired electricity consumption reached a 32 year low in 2016. The factors affecting decreasing coal production are numerous, but one of the largest issues is the availability of cheaper natural gas. Another issue affecting demand for coal is that utility markets continue to shift toward renewable sources. This shift is demonstrated by Xcel Energy recent announcement that the company plans to get more than half of its power from renewable sources by 2026, with plans to decrease the coal portion of the company’s utility portfolio from 46 to 23% within the next decade.  According to reports, the EPA has not decided whether it will replace the Clean Power Plan with a new rule to regulate emissions from existing power plants.

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