Decarbonization in the United States; law will block thermoelectric plants


DDozens of thermoelectric plants in the United States will stop coal burning this decade in accordance with stricter federal wastewater guidelines, according to government regulatory records, as the industry continues to move away from planet-heating fossil fuels for electricity generation.

The new rules require plants to remove carbon monoxide and toxic heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and selenium from wastewater before it is discharged into watercourses and rivers. The rule is expected to affect 75 thermoelectric plants with coal-fired production units across the country, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Until October, these facilities had to inform their respective state regulatory authorities about how they planned to follow the guidelines, with options that included upgrading their pollution control equipment and having their coal-fired production units retire by 2028.

At least 26 plants in 14 states have already announced that they will permanently suspend coal burning, according to the environmental organization Sierra Club. Twenty-one plants intend to close and another five have indicated that they can switch to natural gas, the organization emphasized.

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