NIPSCO doesn't foresee a need to make changes to its electricity generation plans in light of the Trump administration's proposal to scale back Obama-era Clean Power Plan limits on fossil-fuel emissions.
The Trump plan, announced Tuesday, would ease federal restrictions while increasing the authority of states to decide how to regulate coal power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency said the plan "empowers states, promotes energy independence and facilitates economic growth and job creation."
EPA called the Obama-era regulations, which have been delayed in federal court, "overly prescriptive and burdensome."
Tuesday's move opens a public-comment period on the new plan.
"We are reviewing the changes announced today, but we don't anticipate changes in our recently announced plan for electric generation, or changes in our current environmental investments and upgrades," NIPSCO stated.
The utility recently shut down its coal-fired generators at the Bailly Generating Station in Chesterton. And the utility plans to retire two units at its Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield by the end of 2023, as well as perform upgrades there.
"NIPSCO has continued to diversify its mix, including our announced plan to retire 50 percent of our coal-fired electric generation by 2023, which began with our Bailly facility in May," the company stated.
The Bailly and Schahfer actions were detailed in NIPSCO's 2016 Integrated Resource Plan. The company is in the midst of creating a new IRP, to be completed by the end of the year.
Environmental groups were quick to speak out against the Trump plan.
Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, said the Clean Power Plan "helps drive the U.S. economy toward modern renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that improve public health and boost clean energy jobs in the Midwest and elsewhere."
He said the Midwest is well-positioned to lead in wind and solar power, but the Trump administration's replacement of the Clean Power Plan "would move our nation backwards and cost American jobs."
The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign issued a statement arguing that the Trump proposal "won't succeed at saving the coal industry."
The cost of coal and pressure to transition to cleaner sources has led to plans to retire half the country's coal plants, the campaign stated, and NIPSCO's intentions to continue with its plans regarding coal "prove that coal’s decline is inevitable. NIPSCO should speed up its plans to phase out their expensive, aging, coal-burning power plants and replace them with clean energy."
NIPSCO has said it needs to maintain flexibility in its electricity generation to adapt to changing markets and new technologies, and that its current plans will cut its emissions more than required by the existing Clean Power Plan.
"Beyond complying with the new rule, we are continuing to outpace the industry as well as the targets outlined in the prior rule regarding carbon emission reductions," the company stated Tuesday.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.