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.
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is set to deliver six million tonnes of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”