2010 marks the second year in a row that no new coal-fire power plants were constructed in the United States according to the Washington Post. However coal-fired plants remain the largest generator of electricity in the U.S. supplying approximately 50% of all power generated each year. Increasingly however factors such as the economy, lower natural gas prices, and environmentalist opposition, have effectively halted the growth of the coal industry.

Recent technological advancements in the extraction and production of natural gas have unlocked for use large domestic supplies previously thought unusable. This in turn has driven the cost of natural gas down dramatically. Reserves of natural gas found in Shale Rock formations, (or Shale Gas) are thought to be enormous, rivaling the oil reserves of the Middle East.

With many in the industry looking to natural gas as the future, including American Electric Power (AEP) America’s largest electricity generator, interest in new coal plants seems to be waning. Additionally according to a report from Deutsche Bank, if gas prices stay below $6, more plants will be converting from coal to gas.

“Coal is a dead man walkin’,” says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. “Banks won’t finance them. Insurance companies won’t insure them. The EPA is coming after them…And the economics to make it clean don’t work.”

This however does not mean that the coal industry is dead. The coal industry still manged to have enough weight last year to kill the climate legislation (cap and trade) in the US Senate, showing it still has a lot of influence in politics and public opinion. Plus, even as it declines, it remains the number one source of electricity in America.

Further challenges await the coal industry this year from a different front. Beginning this year, the Environmental Protection Agency has new regulations scheduled to take effect to lower greenhouse gas emissions of power plants emitting over 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Such a rule would force industry to install state-of-the-art emissions controls on new construction in order to obtain the necessary air permits. Along with increased pressure from Washington, this means that existing coal-fired plants will be coming under heavy scrutiny to ensure that they are meeting all current Federal and State emissions regulations. With large fines, and negative publicity being the price of failing to meet the new standards.

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.

One only has to look at how the US Department of Homeland Security and its TSA (Travel Safety Association) are making headlines recently for implementing controversial security measures at American airports, thereby changing the way we travel, to see clearly the effect that governmental agencies can have on our everyday life.

One agency that often gets overlooked has done more to change the United States (and through its influence the world) than most people realize. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

As part of a larger week of commemorating 40 years of protecting the environment, the Aspen Institute – an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue has listed the top 10 ways that the EPA has strengthen America. The list highlights how environmental activism benefits not only the Earth, and the people that live on it from a social, moral, and public health perspective, but also how by having avoided widespread contamination of the nation’s resources, it has lead to a stronger, more economically viable future for the nation as a whole over time.

Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson had these comments on the history of the EPA and its effect. “Over its 40-year history, EPA has evolved into the world’s preeminent environmental regulatory agency through a balanced, three-pronged strategy, combining excellent science, regulatory enforcement, and engagement of all stakeholders in developing new solutions to environmental problems. EPA’s balanced, multifaceted structure and operation sets the standard around the world for applying strong science, as well as economic incentives and disincentives, to achieve positive environmental outcomes while allowing businesses to grow and prosper,”

The following are highlights of EPA’s 40 year history identified in the report:

·         Removing Lead from Gasoline—and from the Air

·         Removing the Acid from Rain

·         Clearing Secondhand Smoke

·         Vehicle Efficiency and Emissions Control

·         Controlling Toxic Substances

·         Banning Widespread Use of DDT

·         Rethinking Waste as Materials

·         A Clean Environment for All/Environmental Justice

·         Cleaner Water

·         The “Community Right to Know” Act

A full copy of the report can be found at www.aspeninstitute.org.

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.

WASHINGTON D.C. – In a recent year end report detailing annual enforcement and compliance results, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through enforcement of regulation, and compliance actions forced polluters to pay more than $110 million in civil penalties and commit to spend an estimated $12 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects that benefit communities. The total accumulated effect of all enforcement, and subsequent reductions in emissions due to infrastructure improvements is expected to prevent the release of nearly 1.4 Billion pounds.

“At EPA, we are dedicated to aggressively go after pollution problems that make a difference in our communities through vigorous civil and criminal enforcement,” stated Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Our commitment to environmental enforcement is grounded in the knowledge that people not only desire, but expect, the protection of the water they drink, the air they breathe and the communities they call home.”

EPA Activities In 2010

Enforcement of the Clean Air Act provisions, are expected o alone account for the reduction of of approximately 400 Million pounds of air pollution per year. It is estimated that those reductions will save between $6.2 Billion and $15 Billion each year in health care costs. Additionally through FY (Fiscal Year) 2010 EPA actions have ensured that over 1 Billion pounds of water pollution will be reduced, eliminated or handled properly, and approximately $8 Billion in investigates will be made in pollution control and environmental improvement projects. EPA’s civil enforcement actions also led to commitments to treat, minimize or properly dispose of more than an estimated 11.8 billion pounds of hazardous waste.

EPA Criminal Enforcement

With diligent effort to vigorously prosecute accused environmental criminals, the EPA in FY 2010 opened 346 new environmental crime cases. The results are that 289 defendants were charged with committing environmental crimes, with 198 being convicted a$41 Million being levied in fines and restitution.

Interactive Data Access Tools Increase Transparency.

This year’s annual results include an enhanced mapping tool that allows the public to view detailed information about the enforcement actions taken at more than 4,500 facilities that concluded in FY 2010 on an interactive map of the United States and its territories. The map shows facilities and sites where civil and criminal enforcement actions were taken for alleged violations of U.S. environmental laws regulating air, water, and land pollution. The mapping tool also displays community-based activities like the locations of the environmental justice grants awarded in FY 2010 and the Environmental Justice Showcase Communities.

The release of the EPA’s enforcement and compliance results and the accompanying mapping tool are part of EPA’s commitment to transparency. They are intended to improve public access to data and provide the public with tools to demonstrate EPA’s efforts to protect human health and the environment in communities across the nation.

 

 
About the Author

| Dominick DalSanto is an Author & Environmental Technologies Expert, specializing in Dust Collection Systems. With nearly a decade of hands-on working experience in the industry, Dominick’s knowledge of the industry goes beyond a mere classroom education. He is currently serving as Online Marketing Director & Content Manager at Baghouse.com. His articles have been published not only on Baghouse.com , but also on other industry related blogs and sites. In his spare time, Dominick writes about travel and life abroad for various travel sites and blogs.