Bloomberg says coal industry is a ‘dead man walking’

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told an audience near Washington, D.C. today that tough regulations, environmental activism, and cheap natural gas are bringing an end to coal-fired power in the United States.

“Even though the coal industry doesn’t totally know it yet or is ready to admit it, its day is done. … Here in the U.S., I’m happy to say, the king is dead. Coal is a dead man walking,” Bloomberg said at an energy summit.

Bloomberg added that public-health and climate change activists are ready for a long “regulatory trench war” over coal-fired power.

The Hill reports that Bloomberg Philanthropies gave a $50 million grant to Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign aimed at shuttering one-third of the country’s coal-fired fleet by 2020.

Recently, electric utility American Electric Power agreed to stop burning coal at three plants in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky as part of a settlement with the EPA, U.S. states, and environmental groups — including the Sierra Club.

“Across the country, the coal industry faces unprecedented setbacks as its share of electricity generation plummets and the cost of coal continues to skyrocket,” said Jodi Perras, who represents the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Indiana.

Coal-fired power makes up 79 percent of carbon emissions from electricity generation, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Coal made up 37.4 percent of the U.S. electricity portfolio last year, reports the Hill.

According to the Sierra Club, 142 coal plants representing more than 50,000 megawatts of coal-fired power have been retired or slated for retirement since 2010.

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