With the coal industry struggling to regain its footing following the coal-induced Great Recession, many coal companies have found ways to remain profitable.
But the industry faces another challenge.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new rules to curb pollution from new coal-fired power plants.
These rules would limit the amount of carbon pollution that can be emitted from new plants, including the carbon pollution emitted from the construction of new coal power plants, and would require companies to pay for pollution control measures.
The rules are expected to go into effect in 2017.
Meanwhile, many states are also looking at regulations to address the effects of CO2 on the air and on the climate.
The EPA is currently working to finalize rules for new power plants to reduce emissions from new and existing coal plants, with plans to issue more regulations on new power plant emissions by 2020.
Some states, like Arizona, have already adopted their own CO2 emission limits.
Arizona has also set up an EPA pilot program to reduce carbon emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired plants, the Phoenix New Times reported.
But, in order to make sure these new regulations are effective, the EPA has also proposed new CO2 limits for existing coal power plant.
For example, the proposed CO2 limit for new plants in New York would be 25 parts per million (ppm) higher than the proposed limits in Arizona.
The proposed limits would also apply to the construction phase of new power projects in New Mexico, Vermont, South Dakota, Oregon and other states.
And, the agency has proposed limits on the amount that plants can emit of CO 2 for new projects in North Carolina and Texas.
The proposal to increase the CO2 cap to 25 ppm would apply to existing plants in North Dakota, Wyoming and Wyoming, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Virginia, according to the New Times.
A new EPA proposal to raise the cap on CO2 emissions from coal plants is expected to take effect in 2019.
EPA regulations have also been criticized by environmental groups, including Clean Air Task Force and the Center for Biological Diversity, which have warned that new CO 2 limits could have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities.
The new COII limits could potentially make it harder for people in poor and minority communities to afford new energy systems, the group wrote in a report released on September 5.
“The proposed limits for new coal plants would make it nearly impossible for many low-wage households to access clean, affordable electricity,” said the report, titled “New EPA CO2 Cap and the Cost of Clean Energy.”
The proposed COII cap would make energy systems less competitive, it says.
In addition, “any new CO II limit would disproportionately affect poor and working class communities, while the rich and wealthy would be able to continue benefiting from a high-CO2 system.”
The new limits would have the potential to push up electricity prices, according a September 6 statement from the American Energy Alliance.
The group says it supports the EPA’s proposal to limit CO2 levels in new power stations, but argues that these limits could lead to “unnecessary increases” in energy costs and emissions that would undermine efforts to achieve a more sustainable climate.
“In light of the ongoing climate change crisis and the growing economic costs of CO pollution, EPA should be looking to increase our carbon reduction efforts by limiting the amount and type of CO emissions in power plants,” the statement said.
“While the proposed new standards are a step in the right direction, it would still leave the coal and gas power industry behind.”