Each would certainly require additional investment in existing coal-fired plants and the coal industry has little control over those additional costs.
North Carolina has a history with this kind of energy, after a 2014 spill from a plant in Eden sent over 30,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.
The Trump administration has finalized a rule that will roll back an Obama-era regulation to cut emissions from the United States' power sector.
"The EPA is attempting to justify this woefully weak rule by lowballing the cost of climate impacts and dismissing the benefits of cutting the harmful pollutants like particulate matter that are emitted along with carbon dioxide when power plants burn fossil fuels".
Wheeler referred obliquely to Obama's "war on coal" by likening it to the Green New Deal: "The contrast between our approach and the Green New Deal, or plans like it [i.e., Obama's "Clean Power Plan"], couldn't be clearer". The Natural Resources Defense Council said they would sue the Trump administration over the new rule.
Ethan Zindler, an analyst with BloombergNEF, said the Trump administration's new rule will not do much to slow the demise of coal as a source of electricity in the U.S. "We should seize on and build from this clean energy momentum - but instead the Trump administration's rollback will pull us down a failed and risky path".
"By repealing the historic Clean Power Plan, the Trump Administration has doubled down on their all-out assault on the health and well-being of our children", she said. The Trump administration has long held that not only did the EPA overreach in this case, that it picked winners and losers in the industry.
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Oil prices extended gains on Wednesday after rising in the previous session on rekindled hopes for a U.S. Washington and Riyadh have blamed Tehran for the attacks, which Iran has denied.
"When ACE is fully implemented, we expect to see USA power sector Carbon dioxide emissions fall by as much as 35 percent below 2005 levels", said Wheeler.
Where the new plan focuses on what can be achieved at individual coal plants, the Clean Power Plan it is replacing aimed to drive broader changes in the US electric mix and threatened to spur a wave of coal plant closures. In an email, she said AEP continues to diversify its fuel mix and invest in cleaner forms of energy, including renewables, and the company expects that the proportion of coal in its fuel mix will continue to decline.
Obama previewed the sweeping changes that would come from his environmental policies in January 2008 when he told the San Francisco Chronicle that, after his energy policies were in place, "i$3 f somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can".
But it never went into effect because of court challenges. Environmental groups promise court challenges there, too.
Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, said the Trump administration should move toward 100% renewable energy instead of "siding with polluters and the voices of the past".
It's no surprise that President Donald Trump is trying to eviscerate the Obama-era Clean Energy Plan with a completely inadequate substitute that has far lower targets for reducing carbon emissions from the power sector. The upgrades, known as heat rate improvements, would enable plants to burn coal more efficiently.
The new Affordable Clean Energy rule allows states to set their own goals for greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead of crushing US coal, Mr. Wheeler said, the focus should be on innovation that reduces coal's impact on global greenhouse gas emissions.
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump promised to revive the coal industry and restore mining jobs - a message that resonated with the working-class voters who helped elect him.