(WASHINGTON) -- These are tough times for America’s coal industry, and another challenge came on Friday, when the Obama administration announced EPA requirements for new coal-fired power plants, moving to impose for the first time strict limits on the pollution blamed for global warming. The proposal would help reshape where Americans get electricity, away from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy.
President Obama says new rules would help end “the limitless dumping of carbon pollution” from power plants. Under the proposal, new coal-powered power plants would have to install expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide and bury it underground. No coal-fired power plant has done that yet, in large part because of the cost.
The coal industry, which is struggling to compete with cheaper and cleaner natural gas, accounts for 40 percent of U.S. electricity. But coal’s share is declining. The regulations have been in the works since 2011 and stem from a 1970 law passed by Congress to control air pollution. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that that law, the Clean Air Act, could be applied to heat-trapping pollution.
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