The predictions of the Kemper plant are astounding, and even the EPA says that if Kemper proves to be successful, we can continue burning the dirtiest fossil fuel we know if we can cut emissions. One would hope that the multibillion dollar budget would result in some progress. The initial step of the Kemper plant is to strip about two-thirds of coal's carbon dioxide emissions. Two-thirds fewer emissions would create an even competition between coal and cleaner-burning natural gas. Rather than polluting the air, the carbon dioxide emissions will be captured and sent to two nearby companies, which will use the carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery. Head of the coal transition team for the Clean Air Task Force, John Thompson, is one of the few groups to support CCS at the Kemper plant. Environmental groups are battling the technologies at the Kemper facility, which is set to enact these technologies later this year (Goldenberg, 2014).
Coming June 2014, the Obama administration is set to push for further restrictions on power plants in the U.S. with the advisement of the EPA. Environmental groups view the predicted changes as a reason why the coal industry is dedicated and defensive of their new technology. Perhaps the coal industry desires the EPA to postpone even more restrictive laws through evaluation of the subtle progress being made. The Sierra Club is one of the oldest and most influential environmental organizations in the United States. The Sierra Club refutes any of the so-called progress made at the Kemper plant and understands the expense and lack of, if any, progress of any CCS project (Goldenberg, 2014). Along with the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society supports changes introduced by the Obama Administration. This yields pressure on the EPA to make drastic changes necessary to end the pushback of regulations, and increase restrictions on the coal industry now (Plumer, 2014).
Potential and Problems of Alternative Energies
Whatever decision may be made about coal, it is time the United States gets serious about combatting climate change and utilizing alternative energies. Climate change results in loss of biodiversity, crops, freshwater, and declining human health. Obviously, carbon dioxide emissions need to be cut. It seems that cutting emissions will also result in cutting coal and other fossil fuel energies. The only question remaining is the availability and efficiency of alternative energy. We must find a way to deal with climate change, air pollution, and energy insecurity. Alternative energy, often called “Green Energy” consists of renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, nuclear power, solar power, and wind power. If coal energy is depleted, we will need all of these. Although alternative energies have near-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, they have limited potentials and require large investments (Plumer, 2014).
Firstly, environmental impacts of alternative energy should be at a minimum. Many studies suggest that...