New Carbon Regulations will Cut Coal Emissions by 20 Percent
The 'war on coal' continues as President Obama is set to cut greenhouse gas emissions
The Obama administration is gearing up to reveal a new rule that will allow states to use cap-and-trade systems to force the coal industry to pay for pollution it generates.
The President plans to bypass congress by using his executive authority to cut emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent. It will be the strongest action ever taken by an American president to combat climate changes.
The plan is expected to be unveiled at the White House on Monday.
The administration’s goal to reduce pollution over the next six years could eventually shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country. The 3,000 –page rule is expected to spark outrage, lawsuits and claim jobs.
"Carbon policy is going to impact our business, and we have to be prepared for that," said Robert C. Flexon, chief executive of Houston-based Dynegy. "It can be a threat or an opportunity. I'd rather make it an opportunity."
The new rule will set a national limit on carbon pollution from coal plants. States will be allowed to come up with its own plan to cut emissions based on a slew of options that include adding wind and solar power, energy-efficiency technology and creating or joining state cap-and-trade programs. Essentially carbon taxes, these cap-and-trade programs place a limit on carbon pollution and create markets for buying and selling government-issued pollution permits.
EPA is expected to finalize the directive by mid-2015 and present a plan to implement the rule by end of the year.
In the past, the EPA has ordered individual power plants to cut specific pollutants by set amounts. That approach, however, doesn’t work for carbon dioxide. The technology that would be used to allow coal plants to cut those emissions is not currently cost-effective.
According to environmental group Sierra Club, 165 of the U.S.’s 600 coal plants are already set to be closed in the next few years as they cannot comply with toxic metal regulations.
Coal plants are the nation’s largest source of greenhouse emissions and scientists believe it’s the main cause of global warming.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.