The US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced new regulations that require the USA’s electricity generating utilities to reduce CO2 emissions by 32% over the next 15 years.

The American Iron and Steel Association (AISI) believes that the new regulations will raise electricity costs for domestic steel companies and threaten the industry’s ability to remain internationally competitive.

According to the AISI, the new regulations ‘mandate that new coal-burning power plants use unviable carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’.

Thomas J Gibson, president and CEO of AISI, said that leading steel-producing states in the USA are heavily dependent on coal for electricity production. “This rule will have a disproportionate impact on coal-fired utilities and, in turn, impede economic growth for steelmakers,” he said.

Gibson said the steel industry competes with steel producers in countries where energy costs are often subsidized and that limitations on CO2 emissions instituted in the USA must also apply at the same level of stringency to other major steel producing nations, such as China. “Otherwise, steel production and manufacturing jobs will shift to other nations with higher rates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” he said.

AISI and 16 other pro-manufacturing groups submitted joint comments to the EPA in December last year stating that these regulations could severely harm the international competitiveness of critical US industries.