Last Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a proposed rollback of a 2015 Obama administration rule setting CO2 emissions standards for new or modified coal-fired steam generating units. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the Obama era standards were set too high and that carbon capture and sequestration is not the best system for emissions reduction and it has not been proven effective. The EPA’s new proposed rule is intended to help jumpstart the struggling coal industry.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects coal consumption in 2018 in the United States to be the lowest it has been in 39 years. Despite that, Wheeler stated that the rollback of the Obama standards was necessary and would encourage new investments in cleaner technologies.