Coal to be Banned in Nation's Capital
The State Journal
7 June 2013
By Pam Kasey
Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced June 7 new
legislation that would ban coal-burning power facilities in the
District of Columbia.
The move comes in conjunction with permits issued by the District
Department of the Environment to the Architect of the Capitol to
construct a new cogeneration facility that will allow the Capitol
Power Plant to stop using coal to produce power for facilities on
Built in 1910, the Capitol Power Plant produces steam and chilled
water to heat and cool over 17 million square feet of building
space in 23 facilities on Capitol Hill including the Capitol
Building the House and Senate office buildings and the Supreme
It has seven boilers, two of which can burn coal.
In recent years, its operators have shifted away from coal,
burning 56 percent coal in 2007 but only 5 percent coal in 2011.
The cogeneration plant now permitted will produce both heat and
electricity, increasing the efficiency of electricity used on
Capitol Hill from 33 percent to at least 60 percent. That
increased efficiency, combined with the reliance on natural gas
and only on fuel oil and not on coal as a backup fuel, will clean
up emissions of air pollutants in the region.
"In conjunction with the permits DDOE issued today, this
legislation will help District residents breathe more easily for
years to come," said Gray. "My Sustainable DC initiative aims to
make the District the nation's greenest, healthiest, most
sustainable city in the country in the next two decades – and
eliminating coal emissions from the Capitol Power Plant is a key
victory in achieving that goal."
The Ban on Combustion of Coal Act of 2013 would ban coal burning
in the District beginning 18 months after the commercial operation
date of the Capitol Power Plant's cogeneration project, except in
instances of force majeure and for testing and tuning.
It also would strictly limit facilities to burning coal for no
more than 72 hours per emissions unit, per year, and only for the
purposes of tuning and testing. Testing and tuning are required by
the federal Clean Air Act and District regulations.