A tugboat pushing barges filled with corn on the Mississippi River in front of the Sioux Coal Plant in West Alton, Missouri (Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post) Brady Dennis Reporter Focusing on Environmental and Public Health Issues Steven Mufson Reporter Covering Energy and Other Financial Issues On December 6th at 14:38, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday its intention to reverse a rule that would have forced new US coal plants to install technologies to capture their carbon dioxide emissions, marking the Trump administration 's latest effort to repeal climate regulations of the Obama era. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at an afternoon press conference that the Obama administration's regime, which actually required that any new coal plant has costly carbon capture equipment to meet certain emission standards, was "misleading" because the costs of the technology made new coal plans unfeasible. Wheeler said that the policy proposed by the Trump administration would have "high standards but achievable that are rooted in reality", which would "level the playing field" for all types of fuels. "You will see a reduction in emissions," Wheeler said, saying that US investment would lead to new technologies. "By allowing the private sector genius to operate, we can keep American energy reliable and abundant." A step back, as it is passed, would likely have little impact on the real world, said both industry representatives and environmental activists. "No new coal plants will be built in the United States, with or without that," said David Doniger, senior climate and energy policy manager at the Natural Resources Defense Council, noting that the low price of natural gas during The last few years have made coal less profitable, but Doniger called this proposal "an unexpected attempt" to tempt the coal industry for which Wheeler was in the habit of pressuring and ignoring the ever increasing evidence climate change risks. "Science tells us that it's imperative to drastically reduce emissions from uel combustion," Doniger said. "Any administration that looks at reality would not repeal this requirement, but would look for ways to extend it. . . Jeff Holmstead, a partner in the lobbying firm Bracewell, a lobbying firm specializing in law and energy, and former head of the EPA 's Air and Radiation Bureau, acknowledged that he was not the only one to be involved. canceling what really amounts to a ban on new coal plants is symbolic. In addition, said Holmstead, there has never been a request for a modification or reconstruction of a plant under the Clean Air Act article on which the rule is based. The National Mining Association, however, said the construction of new, more efficient coal-fired power plants could reduce the country's overall carbon dioxide emissions. "Improving the average efficiency rate of coal-fired plants by 33-40% using advanced high-efficiency, low-emission technology could reduce emissions from coal-fired plants by up to 21%," he said. said Ashley Burke, spokesperson for the professional association. Building new coal plants would be expensive. Burke said companies would need subsidies in the form of tax incentives and loan guarantees. Last month, Senator Todd C. Young (R-Ind.) Proposed a bill providing loan guarantees and other incentives for the construction of new coal-fired power plants. But proponents of renewable energy say that the drastic cuts in carbon dioxide emissions needed to slow global warming would come only if coal-fired power plants were still closed and replaced by wind, solar or geothermal plants. "This proposal is an illegal new attempt by the Trump administration to support an industry already under the mighty weight of the free market," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) In a statement. Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, said, "If the president cared about coal miners, he would start looking for ways to help the hand-gunner. industry to adapt to the new economic reality and invest in its future. " A group of UN scientists said in a recent report that coal and gas power plants still in operation should be equipped with carbon capture technologies to reduce the carbon emissions needed to keep the world less than 1, 5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) pre-industrial warming "This is just one more step from this administration that shows a fairly complete disregard for public health and the health of the planet, in favor of what appears here as a rather difficult goal to achieve, "said Janet McCabe, who EPA's acting deputy administrator in charge of the Office of Air and Space Radiation under the Obama administration has helped shape the rule in effect. "appropriate" and stated that the Trump administration should probably defend in court the reasons for its relaxation. "Send a signal of minimal ambition, if any, is the wrong direction to take when the national climate assessment has just told us that things are pretty terrible," she said, qualifying this is "the last sign of the government's contempt for the climate". related risks. "They only gave this signal: rule after rule." The Energy Information Administration said this week that US coal consumption had fallen to its lowest level in 40 years. The agency said that the use of coal by the US energy sector would fall by 4%, or 691 million short tons, in 2018. In the United States, power plants will shut down coal-fired power plants. This year's capacity of 14.3 gigawatts more than twice the 7 gigawatts of capacity withdrawn in 2017, according to S & P Global Market Intelligence. It is already planned to close 22.9 gigawatts of coal plants by 2024.