Monday, February 10, 2014

Obama's EPA is set to strike a key blow against Coal

Stymied by the GOP's long resistance to cap and trade legislation, the EPA this week began public hearings -- the next step toward a final rule -- to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new coal plants. 
The rule would limit emissions to 1100 pounds per Megawatt hour, a level the coal industry says is technologically unattainable. 
Green energy proponents disagree.
"Opponents say this will prevent ever building another coal-fired plant in the United States today. They say that the technology is not commercially available. These claims are scare tactics," Rep. HenryWaxman, D-Calif., said in a press conference Thursday outside EPA headquarters in advance of the hearing. 
Some supporters of the proposed rule say fracking has unleashed a treasure trove of cleaner natural gas. Its new abundance and low price has put coal at a competitive disadvantage, a welcome development, they say, given the consequences of global warming.
"I think there's been a fair amount of scare mongering that says, the only way we can address climate change is through drastic action that’s going to increase everybody's electricity bills and ruin the kinds of vehicles they want to drive and none of that is happening, " says Elgie Holstein of the Environmental Defense Fund.
But the coldest winter in recent memory is reminding Americans of the need for fossil fuels. A bitter cold January in the Midwest sent propane to a record high of $4.24 a gallon. Heating oil also hit a record high of $4.18 a gallon. Amid record cold in the South, where most homes use electricity for heat, the Texas power grid took emergency measures to avoid a blackout.
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