By Scott H. Johnson and Michael H. O’BrienThe Obama administration is on the verge of taking a major step toward fulfilling a campaign promise to reduce emissions from coal plants, a move that could have a major impact on the global economy.
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new rule that requires coal companies to get more fuel from clean coal technology, or use cleaner fuel from alternative sources.
This new regulation, the first of its kind, is expected to come into effect by the end of the year.
In doing so, the EPA will become the first federal agency to regulate a major source of greenhouse gases — the use of coal.
The rule is expected in December and has drawn widespread criticism.
Its impact is difficult to gauge, but critics have argued that it could make the US the first nation in history to become the only major economy to switch to a low-carbon source of energy.
The EPA said in a statement Tuesday that it is taking a “proactive approach” to reducing carbon emissions, including reducing fuel costs and increasing efficiency.
The agency’s new rule will allow coal companies and other companies to switch fuel sources by 2021 if they meet a number of other requirements, the statement said.
The Obama Administration announced its plan to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants in the last few months of last year, but it was not enough to offset the effects of carbon dioxide on the climate.
The EPA is expected soon to take the next step by requiring coal companies, and others, to get cleaner fuel.
The administration has said the new rule is necessary to combat the harmful effects of global warming and to meet the needs of the US economy.
A separate rule requires that the federal government limit CO2 in the atmosphere to prevent the growth of dangerous super-storms, the effects that would be felt in the Northeast.
The latter rule is likely to be the first to go into effect.
Environmental groups have criticized the new EPA rule, calling it a step backward from the Obama administration’s previous approach to reducing emissions.
But the administration has pushed back against such criticism, saying that the new rules will reduce CO 2 emissions while boosting reliability and energy security.
The new EPA regulation is expected make it easier for coal companies across the country to switch sources, and that could make it more difficult for the coal industry to maintain the status quo.
The coal industry argues that the rule will help the industry in other ways.
“We know that coal power plants are the backbone of our economy, so the new regulation is going to help ensure that we continue to have a reliable and cost-effective source of power in the US,” said Kevin P. Seifert, director of the National Mining Association, a coal industry trade group.
“We believe the regulation is a good step in the right direction, and we welcome the EPA’s announcement.”