The world has run on coal for so long that it seems like it will always be a go-to form of power. Centuries of coal use, however, doesn't mean that coal is the energy source of forever. It isn't a perfect power source due to impurities of the substance. There are environmental reasons why the U.S. is looking to modify its use and regulations of the coal indurstry.
Reuters reports that the the Environmental Protection Agency is likely to announce new environmental regulations for the coal industry later this week. More specificallyl, the EPA (with support of the Obama Administration) will set stricter rules regarding the carbon emissions rate required of coal plants.
Critics and economic professionals suspect that stringent environmental rules will limit the coal industry's growth and put plants out of business. Also, they suspect that the development of more environmentally friendly technologies will not be supported by stricter EPA regulations.
Supporters of the upcoming changed emissions regulations believe that higher standards in accordance with the Clean Air Act will nudge the industry to improve plants by adding what will likely become required carbon capture and storage technologies. Basically, such technology would limit carbon emissions from hitting the air by storing the emissions underground.
Protecting the environment is not always as easy as it is important. It is especially tough when no one wants to make decisions that might hurt a struggling industry and overall economy. But times change. Damage is measurable. Priorities shift. Clearly, the current administration has made cleaner energy a priority.
When the new regulations are announced, we will post an update.
Source: Reuters, "U.S. coal industry braces for EPA emissions crackdown," Valerie Volcovici, Sep. 12, 2013