The Trump administration expects new coal-fired power plants to open as a result of a major new regulatory change.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler announced the repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, Wednesday, and he expects an increase in coal plants as a result of the repeal. The Obama-era plan sought to fight climate change by prodding coal-fired power plants out of the nation’s electrical grid. Wheeler says the administration’s repeal will lead investors to put money into more coal plants.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement, saying the plan was completely unnecessary red tape because Nebraska already works hard to keep air and water clean. “Thank you to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for following through on your promise to roll back this job-killing regulation,” said Governor Ricketts. “The regulation gave Nebraska zero credit for innovative projects we already have in the pipeline, and it would have burdened Nebraska families and Main Street with budget-crushing power rate increases.”
Senator Ben Sasse issued a statement congratulating the president. “This rollback is good news,” said Sasse. “Unless you’re going to a football game in Boulder, batteries don’t just rain from the sky. The energy we use to power our economy has to come from somewhere and, right now, a lot of reliable energy comes from coal.” He added that we absolutely need to develop efficient and market-ready alternatives, “but we can’t let Washington bureaucrats unplug our farms, homes, and businesses from dependable power.”
Nebraska Public Power District representative Mark Becker spoke with KFOR News about the issue and how it will affect Nebraskans. Becker said the future of energy in Nebraska is unclear this early on and that NPPD needs to “wait on the state of Nebraska” before implementing any new plans for alternative energy. “They’re the regulators of all of our power plants except for our hydroplants and our nuclear stations,” said Becker. He said that it may be months or even years before a decision is made by the state on the issue, so Nebraska’s alternative energy plans may be put on hold.
Becker also discussed the status of Spencer Dam on the Niobrara River that collapsed in April due to the flooding and large chunks of ice destroying the hydroelectric energy source. Becker said “a group of natural resource districts wanted to buy the water rights and the facility to protect the Niobrara River and make it available for more recreational uses.” The NPPD Board wants to continue with negotiations regarding Spencer Dam and the water rights of the Niobrara as well as the conversation of what will end up of Spencer dam, whether it will be demolished, sold, or repaired.
In 2015, the State of Nebraska joined a lawsuit against the CPP, which led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision halting implementation of the regulation.