Coal, the energy source of choice for some Americans, is being squeezed by the arrival of cheaper natural gas and renewables, and now by an increasing glut of coal-fired power plants.
That means more coal plants are shuttered in the U.S. The new administration’s plan to close all or most of them would be “a massive setback for our coal industry,” said John Hagerty, executive director of the Environmental Working Group.
The administration has long said it will close all coal plants, though it has not yet made a final decision.
It would also put the brakes on any future expansion of wind or solar power, which can provide much of the nation’s electricity without burning coal.
“There are going to be some hard decisions, but these coal plants were the bedrock of the coal industry for decades, and if you’re going to do anything about that, it’s going to have to be in a big way,” said Jim McGrath, president of the American Coal Association.
“We don’t want the country to go backward and the industry to go back to the way it was.
Coal is not going anywhere.”
Trump, who was elected in part because of his promise to revive the coal sector, has been an advocate of the use of renewable energy, particularly wind, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
But as the Trump presidency winds down, many environmentalists worry that Trump’s rhetoric and policies could further drive up costs and undermine U.s. competitiveness in the global economy.
Trump has said he wants to reduce coal use by 50% or more.
But even in his first months, Trump has been reluctant to commit to eliminating all coal-burning power plants in the United States.
That’s despite the fact that the U,S.
had more coal-powered plants in 2015 than any other country in the world.
In the United Kingdom, there were almost as many coal-operated plants as there were people, according to data compiled by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
That could make it harder to achieve a U.nally agreed on goal of closing all coal stations by 2025.
A decision to close the remaining plants could be delayed until 2019, even though a new administration would likely take office in January 2019.
Trump could also seek to reverse a 2015 rule that has limited the use and export of coal, said Robert Murray, an energy policy expert at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
Under that rule, coal is allowed to be used for power generation only if it has a 30% share of the power mix.
Murray said it was unlikely that the Trump transition team would go back on that rule.
But he added that there was no guarantee the administration would do that.
“It’s not clear what the Trump team would do with this,” Murray said.
The transition team is also considering a number of other steps that would make it more difficult for the coal companies to continue to export coal, including an attempt to scrap a ban on new coal leasing on federal lands.
Murray also said the administration may consider allowing more coal exports from Alaska and other parts of the West.
Murray’s view is echoed by other experts who say that Trump and his administration are pursuing the goal of reducing coal use while the economy remains weak and jobs remain scarce.
The Trump transition office did not respond to a request for comment.
“If they have to do this, they will,” Murray wrote in an email.
“But if they can’t, they can take the coal out and let the natural gas, renewable, and nuclear energy take it.”
And Murray, who has studied energy issues for decades and is a former deputy assistant secretary of energy under President George W. Bush, said that if the transition team had any other option, it would try to reverse the decision.
“At this point, the White House has made the decision to shut down the coal plants that it’s already closing,” Murray told the Associated Press.
“The real question is, is the transition taking into account the jobs and economic consequences of this decision?”
*CNN: Trump seeks to ‘sneak in’ coal plant approval, delay coal plant closures // CNN // Dan Merica – July 25, 2017 * President Donald Trump is seeking to “sneake in” coal plant approvals that would delay the closure of coal plants and make the U in the coal business stronger, according the president’s top adviser on energy issues.
In a letter to the Energy Department, Dan Lay said the Trump Administration would be working on a plan to approve permits for additional coal plants.
Lay said in a statement that the Administration is “working with industry to ensure that all existing coal plants have the flexibility to expand, while preserving jobs and environmental protection.” The letter