During the Oct. 16 presidential debate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) criticized the president for attacking coal and other fossil fuels, saying, “I don’t think anyone really believes that you’re a person who’s going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal.”
Romney’s campaign, along with those of GOP Senate candidates in a host of closely contested swing states, have also been running advertisements criticizing the administration’s “war on coal,” blaming the regulations for closure of coal plants and the mines that supply them.
Although the ads blame the agency’s rules for the industry’s hard times, an updated report from the Brattle Group, a consulting firm, found that retirements of coal-fired power plants are likely to rise above expected levels in the next several years due to falling natural gas prices and other market conditions rather than EPA utility rules that Republicans and others say are to blame.
The Oct. 1 report predicts that between 59 and 77 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generating capacity will retire in the next five years, an increase of roughly 25 GW over Brattle’s findings in a similar report released in December 2010. MORE …