In 2014, 39 percent of American electricity was generated by burning coal – down from 52.8 percent from 1997. Though the fuel source has steadily declined from its late 20th century peak due to competition with other energy sources and increased enforcement of environmental safety measures, the coal industry still maintains great economic and political power. However Big Coal may face its biggest challenge yet as the EPA implements new regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, coal plants are shutting down at an impressive rate.
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