The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to implement President Obama’s environmental agenda. These changes are causing frustration especially over coal regulation changes. The new coal regulation revisions by the Obama Administration may submit a toll on thousands of American jobs and modify American energy production. The EPA’s influence on America has increasingly grown since the start of the Obama Administration. These regulations include, a limit on Carbon Dioxide Emissions, concentration of selenium in coalmine discharge water, and the mercury air toxin standard (MATS).
Limiting the carbon monoxide emissions the EPA hopes to reduce the pollution of this toxic greenhouse gas. Coal fired power plants released 2.2 billion tons od carbon dioxide in 2011, according to the EPA, so a 25 percent cut would result in a reduction of 500 million tons. To attain this goal the EPA rules favor making the power plants more energy efficient. These regulations will dramatically affect the building of new coal burning power plants. These regulations will also reduce the amount of jobs that are in place (Limiting Carbon Dioxide Pollution by Power Plants, pars. 1-4).
Selenium is a metal found when doing mountain top removal mining. It is an essential nutrient at low levels but can proceed to health problems in larger amounts (EPA). Coalmines now have to regulate how much selenium is discharged into their waters. Coal mining companies have to do monthly water samples in all discharge areas making sure the selenium levels are safe. From the added cost of the water analysis coal mining has now became more expensive, making these power plants more difficult to operate. Coal fired power plants are having to stop production and close due to inability to comply with these regulations leaving the coal mine companies with less customers.
The Mercury and Air Toxin Standards or MATS is the first national limit on mercury from power plants. This requires the power plants that contribute to the pollution to use the newer technologies to reduce these pollutants (“Mercury and Toxic Air Standards in Kentucky,” EPA). These new technologies are closing the older power plants that can’t meet these standards and or switching over to natural gas. The new technologies that limit these emissions are very expensive not including the tests that have to be completed to make sure the levels on mercury and other air pollutant toxin levels are remaining at a safe level. Once again the power plants cannot comply with these new EPA regulations and having to close costing many American jobs.
As coal fired power plants close, Kentucky coal mines are forced to reduce the on site employment by 6.5 percent during the second quarter which is from April to June of 2013. But as of July 2013, an estimated 12,342 people are employed at Kentucky coalmines, which the lowest ever recorded since the first kept records in 1927 (Kentucky Quarterly Coal Report). So as the EPA tries to