New rules were set in place in June of this year to undo previous rules that would negatively affect the coal industry. The goal of this new set of rules is to keep plants open and running longer, in addition to reducing carbon emissions. Keep reading for the full story.
Protecting the Coal Industry
These rules were made specifically to protect the coal industry and gives individual states the authority to decide how far they’ll scale back emissions, instead of the federal government. The previous rules, overturned by this new set, would have required the reconstruction of power grids—a big project—and would move utilities away from coal very quickly. The federal government would have the authority to enforce emissions restrictions on plants across the nation.
The new regulation is known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, and was born out of a heated debate—does the Environmental Protection Agency have the authority to set national restrictions on carbon emissions, forcing states to move away from coal? This regulation says no, and that the agency only has authority over environmental infractions at individual plants, like chemical spills and the improper handling of hazardous materials.
Having gone into effect about a month ago, the Affordable Clean Energy rule operates on the belief that the market will guide the country toward cleaner energy, by naturally phasing out coal overtime—instead of forcing the phaseout prematurely.
It does, however, instruct states to reduce emissions. While it doesn’t dictate any concrete targets to aim for, it instead lets the states decide how much carbon reduction they consider reasonable for their specific plants and suggests ways to improve efficiency at those individual plants. The previous alternative acted more as a generalized, blanket set of regulations.
Of the people and plants affected by the Affordable Clean Energy rule, most believe it to be legally sound, that it won’t damage the economy, and that it will still go a long way in reducing carbon emissions. In fact, it’s said to reduce emissions in the power sector by 34% below 2005 levels, which very closely matches the goals of the original Clean Power Plan.
Interested in reducing emissions and improving efficiency in your plant? Call Southern Field-EEC today.