- Both critics and supporters of the new EPA draft regulations on CO2 emissions agree on one thing: This will be the final blow to many proposed coal plants.
- The truth is, U.S. coal generation already was in decline not because of climate regulations, but because of good ol' free-market capitalism; the boom in natural gas production has dramatically increased supplies, sent prices plummeting and prompted a shift away from coal.
- Among potential long-term winners: U.S. nat gas drillers such as CHK and XOM, drilling services firms such as HAL and BHI, pipeline companies such as SE and KMI, makers of gas-fired turbines such as GE and SI, power generators such as NRG and CPN if electricity prices rise.
- Likely losers: Coal appears headed for a decline, and companies with large Appalachian operations such as JRCC and ANR could suffer most as more coal comes from cheaper-to-access deposits in the Illinois Basin and Wyoming; big industrial companies, which have used low U.S. power prices as a competitive advantage, are concerned.
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