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Energy & Environment

EPA Plan To Cut Carbon Emissions Would Displace Coal Plants

Amos Plant
Curtis Tate
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
The John Amos power plant in Putnam County, West Virginia, was saved from near-term closure by the state Public Service Commission.

The Environmental Protection Agency revealed its plan to reduce power plant emissions on Thursday.

As expected, the EPA’s plans will encourage the growth of natural gas and renewables and discourage the continued use of coal to make electricity.

The agency is facing a Supreme Court decision that could potentially constrain its authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act.

West Virginia is the lead plaintiff in the case, and the court heard arguments in it last month.

But speaking at an energy conference in Houston, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the agency has other ways to cut carbon.

The agency will look at strengthening limits on air toxics, including mercury, acid gasses and sulfur dioxide. It will also impose more stringent requirements for storing coal ash and treating wastewater from coal-burning plants.

Such rules could encourage the early retirement of more coal plants.

West Virginia has five coal plants that need to make these upgrades to operate beyond 2028.

While it’s not certain how the new rules could affect those plants, they are likely to cause more closures in other states, and that could reduce demand for coal from West Virginia.

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