Reuters Misrepresents Study On Coal Plant Closures
Natural Gas Primary Cause Of Coal Retirements, Not EPA Regulations
Reuters is running  the headline: "More US coal plants to retire due to green rules-study." But the group that authored the study says  the additional expected retirements are "Due To Low Natural Gas Prices," not Environmental Protection Agency rules.
Economists at the Brattle Group project in a new report  that "59 GW to 77 GW (for lenient versus strict [regulatory] scenarios, respectively) of coal plant capacity are likely to retire" by 2016 -- more than previously forecast. But as David Roberts at Grist first noted , the report attributed this change primarily to "changing market conditions, not environmental rule revisions, which have trended toward more lenient requirements and schedules."
The Chicago Tribune  and Scientific American  are running the Reuters report with versions of its inaccurate headline. And Roberts noted  that another mainstream media outlet is making this mistake: a Christian Science Monitor guest blog  titled "Study: EPA regulations squelch US coal industry." (UPDATE 10/10/12: The Christian Science Monitor has removed this post, redirecting readers to an article from September that noted "some experts" say coal plant closures are "coming less from the Obama administration than from natural gas.")
These inaccurate reports feed into the conservative myth that long overdue  clean air and water regulations constitute a "war on coal," even though many experts  say that the primary reason for declining coal generation is the low price of natural gas.