10 Updates

Power plant plan further clouds coal's future

Jun 3 2014, 4:32am CDT | by

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) — President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to reduce the gases blamed for global warming from the nation's power plants gives many coal-dependent states more...

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8 weeks ago

Power plant plan further clouds coal's future

Jun 3 2014, 4:32am CDT | by

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) — President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to reduce the gases blamed for global warming from the nation's power plants gives many coal-dependent states more lenient restrictions and won't necessarily be the primary reason coal-fired power plants will be retired.

If Kentucky, for example, meets the new limits that the Obama administration proposed Monday, it would be allowed to release more heat-trapping carbon dioxide per unit of power in 2030 than plants in 34 states do now.

That's because the Environmental Protection Agency would only require Kentucky, which relies on coal for about 90 percent of its electricity needs, to improve its carbon dioxide emissions rate by 18 percent over the next 15 years. By 2030, Kentucky would be second only to North Dakota for having the most carbon-intensive power plants in the country.

Environmentalists had hoped the proposal would shutter hundreds of coal-fired power plants. Republican critics painted it as a war on coal, with a major economic impact on local economies.

Neither side got exactly what they wanted.

Instead, the EPA's complex formula to calculate each state's reductions gives some coal-heavy states a more relaxed standard, based on what it deemed was realistic to achieve. The EPA says that even with the rules, coal will still provide about 30 percent of the nation's power in 2030. It supplies just under 40 percent now.

"We looked at where states are today, and we followed where they're going," said Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator. "Each state is different, so each goal and each path can be different."

For instance, Indiana's target, at 20 percent, presents a challenge in a state that sits atop a major vein of coal and where more than 80 percent of power is produced by coal. But the EPA gave Indiana credit for already taking steps to reduce carbon emissions, such as encouraging utilities to set renewable energy standards, and environmental activists say they believe the goal can be accomplished.

"I think that meeting EPA's goals is doable for Indiana, and it's a challenge we really have to take on," said Jodi Perras, Indiana's representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.

Doug Gotham of the State Utility Forecasting Group, a state-funded, Purdue University research group, said moves that utilities are already making, like replacing aging coal-fired plants with ones that burn cleaner natural gas, will help Indiana move in the right direction to meet the 2030 goals.

But Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and a state manufacturers' group fear the tougher standards will chill the state's business climate. Pence, a Republican, vowed to oppose the regulations, saying in a statement that they would cost the state jobs and business growth and result in higher electricity rates.

The defensive posture of coal states comes as the resource struggles to compete with plentiful natural gas, the primary driver for coal's diminishing share of the U.S. electricity market — and environmental regulations are not helping. Besides the carbon rule proposed Monday, the EPA also proposed that new plants capture a portion of their carbon pollution. The Obama administration has also cracked down for the first time on mercury and other toxic pollutants from the nation's coal-fired power plants. And more regulations are in the pipeline to control coal ash waste ponds and other releases from coal-fired power plants into the environment.

Together, it's hard to predict what all these rules and the natural gas boom will do to coal-fired power.

"Why keep chopping the legs out of your own economy to try to fight a world problem? You are going to destroy your country trying to set an example," Gary Whitt, a 29-year-old railroad worker said as he ate lunch at Giovanni's in downtown Prestonsburg, Kentucky. He said at least 50 of his co-workers have been laid off, and he's worried he could be next.

Here in Floyd County 20 years ago, more than 150 coal mines were active. Now there are fewer than five, according to R.D. "Doc" Marshall, the county judge-executive. Total coal production in the state has fallen nearly 40 percent since 2000.

Another coal-dependent state, West Virginia, would need to drop its emissions by 19.8 percent, letting the state produce the fifth highest rate nationally in 2030.

Two companies running major West Virginia power plants, American Electric Power and FirstEnergy, said it's too early to determine impacts.

Politicians and industry groups, meanwhile, painted a grim picture.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said no coal plants in the state would currently meet the 2030 mark. His environmental secretary said the technology isn't there is for coal plants to make those strides either. The EPA has given states a range of options from boosting efficiency to investing in more renewable energy to help states get there.

But not everyone thinks cleaning up coal is a bad thing, even in coal country. More than 180 miles away in Louisville, Kentucky's most populous city, Kathy Little can see the smokestacks of an aging coal-burning power plant from her front porch.

Little, who lost her job last year at a company that sells heavy equipment to coal mines, said she was encouraged by the new rules.

"What are they going to be left with if they don't curb carbon dioxide now?" she said. "If you care about your little ones then that's what you need to think about, and not so much the here and now."

___

Cappiello reported from Washington. Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Kentucky, Charles D. Wilson in Indianapolis, and Jonathan Mattise in Charleston, West Virginia, contributed to this report.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken int ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hisha ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 mil ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation o ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme 2014. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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