Coal Industry's Future

Should all coal-fired power plants be closed?


Most U.S. coal is used to generate electricity, but it gives off carbon dioxide and other pollutants, and the industry is getting crushed as power plants turn to cheap, cleaner natural gas and zero-emissions solar and wind power. Recent environmental regulations of power plant emissions are encouraging the shift. Hundreds of coal-fired power plants have closed since 2010, and U.S. coal production has fallen 40 percent from its 2008 peak. Most American coal-mining companies have sought bankruptcy protection in the past two years. Environmentalists want coal-fired electricity plants phased out by 2030, saying they are too costly to operate and too harmful to the environment. But the industry says shutting more coal-fired plants could threaten the reliability of the power grid and that coal-generated electricity ...

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