Home Energy and Environment Remember When the Coal Industry Loved “Clean Coal”?

Remember When the Coal Industry Loved “Clean Coal”?


The Environmental Protection Agency is unveiling carbon pollution limits for new power plants today. The coal industry is screaming bloody murder that no one could possibly expect new coal-fired power plants to implement carbon pollution-cutting technology, but it was only a few years ago that Big Coal was promising Americans it could do exactly that.

The rules will require that coal-fired power plants stop treating our skies like an open carbon sewer. While the rules are only being made public today, the coal industry has spent all week promising to send an army of corporate lawyers to fight the pollution restrictions:

Utility companies with large coal fleets already are preparing to challenge the rule, if it is finalized, on the grounds that the agency is requiring pollution controls that have not yet been “adequately demonstrated” in the marketplace.

Joseph Stanko, head of government relations for the law firm Hunton & Williams, said the EPA’s reliance on “federally funded demonstration projects” as the base for its new standard “is illegal, it doesn’t ‘adequately demonstrate’ technology for normal use.”

Remember the coal industry was buying billboards promising us coal could be “clean and green with new technologies”?

Ah, but that was before the coal industry blocked a clean energy and climate bill that would’ve provided billions in taxpayer subsidies for “clean coal.” Without taxpayers footing the bill, suddenly the idea of “clean coal” seems crazy to coal lobbyists:

Hal Quinn, president and chief executive of the National Mining Association, said the new standard “effectively bans coal from America’s power portfolio, leaving new power plants equipped with even the most efficient and environmentally advanced technologies out in the cold.” He accused the EPA of “recklessly gambling with the nation’s energy and economic future.”

You may remember the National Mining Association from when it joined a lawsuit against those liberal treehuggers in the George W. Bush administration who wanted to give polar bears endangered species protection.

Back to that reckless gambling with our energy and economic future. Remember when the coal industry bought millions of dollars worth of ads promising “clean coal” would bring “energy security” AND “affordability”?

Big Coal always puts its own profits above a safe climate and America’s public health, and will gladly lie to us to protect them. It’s a lesson to remember as the EPA carbon pollution limits move forward.

Tell the EPA you support strong carbon pollution standards for power plants.


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