Affordable Clean Energy Plan is loosening coal regulations

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The Affordable Clean Energy Plan is loosening coal regulations in hopes that the coal mining industry may expand. 

Earlier this week the Trump Administration announced it is loosening Obama-era regulations on the coal industry. 

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is replacing the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Plan. 

The Clean Power Plan under Obama regulated coal burning plans and carbon dioxide emissions. Those rules lead to mines closing across the country. 

The president of the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance, Harry Childress, said that miners are hoping that this new plan will increase mining jobs.

“That’s what the Trump administration is trying to do. They’ve withdrawn some regulations that was putting restrictions on coal operations going in. We hope that they will stop any further closing of coal firepower plants and those that have been closed recently or idled recently may be able to come back online,” said Childress. 

Virginia Congressman, Morgan Griffith says, 

“The Obama Administration’s policies were seemingly designed to put coal miners out of work. By scrapping many of his predecessor’s onerous rules, President Trump has helped to level the playing field for coal. As countries around the world continue to use coal and expand their use of coal, the Trump Administration’s policies will allow Virginia coal to be part of the U.S. and global energy supply.”

The top two coal-producing counties in Virginia are Buchannan and Dickenson Counties which are both in Southwest Virginia. 

Childress says that the Affordable Clean Energy Plan will turn a lot of authority to reduce the source of carbon dioxide to the states. 

In Tennessee, the TVA has moved away from using mostly coal for energy. 

“The TVA started constructing coal plants 70 years ago because it was a cheap reliable source of baseload power to power The Valley,” said TVA spokesperson Scott Brooks. 

At one time the TVA used over 50 percent coal-based energy. Now, they use only 20 percent of coal-based energy. 

“Coal does remain an important part of our generation portfolio. It’s a good base load of power source for us but it’s only one part of our generation mix,” said Brooks.

Now the TVA is trying to balance out its use of energy source, using mostly natural gas. Over the past ten years, the TVA has closed a number of coal units including John Sevier in Rogersville.

This new plan is primarily to help both businesses and homes with the use of coal for electricity. 

Related story: US says Trump coal moves hasten but don’t increase emissions

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