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Natural Resources & Energy

Coal industry braces for new emissions rules


The federal government is getting ready to unveil rules for carbon emissions at new coal-fired power plants, and they probably won't be what industry had hoped for.

When the federal government released a draft set of the rules last summer, industry leaders said they would effectively prohibit construction of new coal-fired power plants. Those rules got scrapped because of potential legal problems, but Bloomberg News reports that administration sources are saying the new ones aren’t much different.

Wyoming Mining Association Executive Director Marion Loomis says while the news is disappointing, it’s hardly unexpected.

“I’m not surprised this administration would not do anything to support coal. They haven’t done anything yet to support coal,” he says.

Loomis says the rules won't have much of an impact in the short-term on Wyoming's coal industry. In the long-term, he says coal plants will have to adapt to the new regulations.

“Hopefully we will come up with some new technologies that can reduce the carbon emissions for new power plants, and possibly use the carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery or other applications,” Loomis says.

For now, Loomis says he’s more concerned about the impact of rules governing the carbon emissions of existing power plants that are due out next year. He says those could shrink demand for Wyoming coal.

The rules for new power plants could still be modified by the White House before their scheduled release on September 20.

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