Piles of coal sit in front of Pacificorp's 1440 megawatt coal fired power plant. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce Thursday it is weakening an Obama-era rule that had required costly technology capturing carbon dioxide emissions on new coal plants, according to multiple people familiar with the news.

Why it matters: This is the latest regulatory rollback effort by President Trump in his attempt to revive America’s coal industry that's declining in the face of cheap natural gas and tougher environmental rules from the last administration.

Details: Obama's EPA had issued a rule requiring any new coal plants to install technology that can capture CO2 emissions, which is technically feasible but too expensive in most cases.

  • Trump's EPA is set to announce that such technology is no longer required.
  • These rules are parallel to another Obama-era regulation imposing CO2 standards on existing coal-fired power plants, which the EPA is in the process of replacing as well with a far less stringent standard.
  • Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler will make the announcement Thursday afternoon in Washington, alongside Harry Alford, CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, according to an advisory that didn't specify the policy itself.

The EPA has not yet returned Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: New coal plants are unlikely in the U.S., no matter what Trump does, because of cheap and cleaner-burning natural gas, along with increasingly cheap renewables. Most utilities think coal will eventually face some sort of CO2 standard, so even though Trump is rolling back such rules now, they’re staying the course.

What’s next: The process to replace the regulation takes many months and goes through a public comment period.

Go deeper

Deadly Hurricane Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

49 mins ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.