Market-watchers thinking that having friends in Congress means that coal can flourish despite EPA regulation on many fronts may have a different view to ponder. Goldman Sachs predicted last week that generators will continue to switch from coal to natural gas and downgraded the prospects of the coal industry from “attractive” to “neutral.” Specifically, Goldman predicted that 51 GW of coal electric generating capacity are on their way out and that EPA Cross State Air Pollution Rule, or CSAPR, and utility MACT rule would together eliminate 160 million tons of coal production through 2018. Political winds may shift direction periodically, but cold-blooded economic analysis says that the outlook for coal is not great in the long run.
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