What’s really keeping coal back

October 16, 2012

Gov. Mitt Romney accused EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson of blocking new coal plant construction in the United States, saying, “The head of the EPA said you can’t build a coal plant. It’s virtually impossible given the regulations.”

There’s no question that new EPA regulations, including limits on mercury and other toxic emissions, and a proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions on new power plants have made it harder to build new coal-fired power plants.

But the lower price of natural gas, which costs less than a quarter of what it did four years ago, has undercut new coal plants just as much, if not more, than new federal regulations.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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Glenn Kessler · October 16, 2012