Arch Coal said Friday that the technology is not available today to create coal plants with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions, responding to an Obama administration proposal that would limit carbon pollution from new plants.
The proposal sets national limits on heat-trapping emissions from power plants and seeks to move the U.S. away from a coal-dependent past to a future fired by cleaner sources of energy. Despite some tweaks, the rule packs the same punch as one announced last year, which was widely criticized by industry and by Republicans as effectively banning any new coal-fired power plants.
Coal accounts for 40 percent of U.S. electricity. But cheap natural gas is increasingly popular as a power-plant fuel, and coal's share was already shrinking.
Natural gas would need no additional pollution controls to comply with the new rule, but new coal-fired plants would need to install expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide and bury it underground. No coal-fired power plant has done that yet, in large part because of the cost.
Deck Slone, Arch Coal's senior vice president of strategy and public policy, said in a statement that the proposal "goes way too far, way too fast."
"With the world's fastest growing economies continuing to build their economies on coal, it makes no sense for the United States — which possesses the world's largest coal reserves — to erect barrier after barrier to coal use," he said.
Arch Coal Inc.'s stock dropped 24 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $4.75 in Friday afternoon trading, selling off with other coal company stocks. Over the past year, shares of the St. Louis company have traded between $3.47 and $8.86.
Original headline: Arch Coal responds to Obama proposal
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