Engineering & Mining Journal

SEP 2018

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Page 29 of 75

NEWS - THIS MONTH IN COAL 28 E&MJ • SEPTEMBER 2018 US EPA to Replace CPP With Affordable Clean Energy Rule By Jennifer Jensen, Associate Editor On August 21, the U.S. Environmental Pro- tection Agency (EPA) published a new rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired plants that would replace former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP). The proposal, the Afford- able Clean Energy Rule (ACE), would estab- lish emissions guidelines for states to use. According to the EPA, this rule will empower states, promote energy indepen- dence, and facilitate economic growth and job creation. President Donald Trump issued an executive order back in March 2017 to have federal agencies review potential "burdensome" regulations. Following this order, the EPA announced it was propos- ing a repeal of the CPP after a thorough review. When the CPP was announced, 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 ru - ral electric co-ops, and three labor unions challenged the rule. Additionally, the Su- preme Court issued a stay of the rule. "The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce green- house gas emissions and provide modern, reliable and affordable energy for all Amer- icans," said EPA Acting Administrator An- drew Wheeler. "Today's proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environ- mental progress while fulfilling President Trump's goal of energy dominance." The proposal defines the "best system of emission reduction" (BSER) for ex- isting power plants as on-site, heat-rate efficiency improvements; provides states with a list of "candidate technologies" that can be used to establish standards of performance and be incorporated into their state plans; updates the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program to fur- ther encourage efficiency improvements at existing power plants; and aligns reg- ulations under Clean Air Act section 111(d) to give states adequate time and flexibility to develop their state plans. Regarding the new rule, Trump said, "We're ending intrusive EPA regulations that kill jobs … and raise the price of en- ergy so quickly and so substantially." The EPA projected that replacing the CPP with the proposal could reduce the compliance burden by up to $400 million a year. The EPA also estimated that the rule would reduce 2030 CO 2 emissions by up to 1.5% from projected levels. When states have fully implemented the propos- al, CO 2 emissions could be 33% to 34% below 2005 levels, the EPA said. The CPP required states to reduce emissions by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. Those in the coal industry applauded the proposed rule. "The replacement rule respects the in- frastructure and economic realities that are unique to each state, allowing for state-driv- en solutions, as intended by the Clean Air Act, rather than top down mandates," Na- tional Mining Association President Hal Quinn said. "It also embraces American innovation, by encouraging plant upgrades. West Virginia Coal Association Presi- dent Bill Raney said the set of regulations under the ACE are more reasonable than ones outlined in the CPP, but would still aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. "The coal industry has proven time and again that we are the best environmentalists out there," Raney said. "U.S. coal plants have reduced toxic air emissions by more than 90% over the last few decades. We are committed to continuing to make improve- ments while protecting America's domestic energy security and, most importantly, to keep our West Virginians working." While many in the coal industry ex- pressed optimism about how the proposed rule would affect the industry, Moody's lead coal analyst Benjamin Nelson of- fered a different view, saying, "The pro- posed rules could benefit coal producers by slowing the ongoing decline in demand for thermal coal in the United States. "While the proposal is a modest credit positive for the coal industry, we expect that economics will continue to drive sub- stitution away from coal, with numerous coal-fired power plants slated for retire- ment in the coming years." EPA will take comment on the pro- posed rule for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register and will hold a public hearing. Russia to Export 200 Million MT of Coal in 2018 Russia is expected to export more than 200 million metric tons (mt) of coal in 2018, according to Xinhua. Energy Minis- ter Alexander Novak, at a fuel and energy commission in the Kemerovo Region, said that "Russia is expected to produce over 420 million mt of coal in 2018, surpass- ing the maximum level of former Soviet times reached in 1988. The export of coal from Russia, according to our esti- mates, is expected to exceed 200 million mt: about 100 million mt in the west and about 100 million mt in the east. Russia's total share in the global coal market has increased more than 3.5 times over the past 20 years and now amounts to 14%." Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the meeting that Russia will further ex- pand its presence in the world coal market. He noted that Russian companies export- ed more than 190 million mt of coal last year, ranking the third in the world. "The current situation provides an opportunity to expand Russia's presence in the global coal market, strengthen its positions and increase our share," Putin said. In its study, EVA calculated a cost of $5.7 billion to replace the capacity of three coal-fired power plants in Ohio.

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