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  • Two-Year Delay on EPA Climate Regs Is No Solution

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endangerment finding gives the agency justification to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, most notably carbon dioxide (CO2), under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The EPA already began targeting motor vehicles last year and will start regulating emissions from new power plants and major expansions of large greenhouse-gas-emitting plants (more than 25,000 tons of CO2 per year) this year.

    Several Members of Congress released or plan to release bills to either delay or prohibit the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. Some ideas are better than others; unfortunately, the proposal garnering the most support in the Senate is also the least effective. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D–WV) wants to delay the EPA’s ability to regulate CO2 for two years, but this is not the right approach for Congress to take. Voting for a two-year delay is nothing more than a political cover. It’s not a step in the right direction and will do more harm than good by creating uncertainty and leaving the endangerment finding intact.

    One problem with a two-year delay is that it creates uncertainty for energy-intensive businesses looking to build new projects or make major expansions. Heritage expert Bill Beach explained this well, saying:

    What can increase risk for investors and businesses? Many factors, of course, but public policy commonly looms largest. For example, tax increases, especially on capital, increase the cost of capital and lower investment returns. When investors are uncertain about whether taxes will increase or stay the same, they can still act as though taxes have risen if they judge the risk of an increase to be nearly equal to an actual increase. And rising uncertainty can have the effect of driving down investments in riskier undertakings.

    Since America gets 85 percent of its energy from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, CO2 regulations would act as a massive energy tax. From planning to construction and operation, such projects have much longer time horizons than two years. Not knowing whether a two-year delay will be renewed in two years or if the energy tax will go into effect in two years will deter businesses from making new investments and creating jobs at a time when they’re most needed.

    Another serious problem with a two-year delay, specifically the Rockefeller bill, is that the EPA can still regulate CO2 under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program. If CO2 becomes an NAAQS, it would trigger requirements that could be met only by severely curtailing economic activity. As David Lungren of the Senate Environmental Public Works Committee put it, “A CO2 NAAQS would twist the CAA into knots and spread EPA’s regulatory tentacles into every corner of the economy.”

    Fortunately, there are far better alternatives to rein in the EPA’s regulatory invasion. Most recently, Senator James Inhofe (R–OK) and Representatives Fred Upton (R–MI) and Ed Whitefield (R–KY) released a discussion draft that would remove the EPA’s power to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Senator John Barrasso (R–WY) recently introduced a bill that is more encompassing. His would prevent the EPA and other federal regulators (such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) from using any environmental act to impose regulations based on climate findings, including the CAA, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

    Congress needs to enact policy that would permanently prevent unelected bureaucrats from regulating CO2 and the catastrophic economic consequences that come along with it. Only this approach would provide the regulatory certainty American businesses need.

    First appeared in National Journal.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Two-Year Delay on EPA Climate Regs Is No Solution

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Our future, our fortunes, our prosperity are being held captive by the federal government. Let us get back to the foundation! This is the evidence why the founders crafted a limited and weak federal government. We need to get back to it!

    2. Bobbie says:

      All perpetrated by coercion, all manipulated by fear mongering. The EPA shows no significance to the truth of nature. And the truth of the nature of the EPA is coerce to convince. Because of their failure within their control, reprimand is expected/ No two year delay. Get rid of the climate regs permanently unless and until there is an honest, significant purpose.

    3. TonyfromOz, Rockhamp says:

      Note that the EPA seeks to regulate those large emitters of CO2, those who emit more than 25,000 tons of CO2 each year.

      Sounds like a lot eh!

      A large coal fired power plant of 2000MW Nameplate Capacity will burn on average 6 million tons of coal each year. Each ton of coal burned produces 2.86 actual physical tons of CO2, hence a little over 17 million tons of CO2 is being emitted.

      So for the EPA to regulate emitters of 25,000 tons of CO2 and over, that covers every coal fired plant larger the 3MW, or virtually every coal fired plant.

      Now, Natural Gas fired plants emit CO2 as well, but only one third as much on a watt for watt basis as those coal fired plants, hence the target here is every Natural gas fired plant larger than 9MW, meaning this is also aimed at virtually every Natural gas fired plant as well.

      However, what is also little known is that even for some renewable plants, eg, Concentrating Solar Plants, (Solar Thermal) the only way they can provide their power on a 24 hour basis is to have Natural Gas fired turbine as a backup when the compound goes off the boil, and the natural gas fired turbine then runs up to drive the generator.

      This new regulatory power that the EPA has is right now aimed specifically at them also.

      Sort of defeats the purpose doesn't it?

      You'd have thought a body such as this would have thought that out, eh!

      Tony.

    4. chuck in st paul says:

      More Klimate Kabuki I'm afraid. This is just to push it past the general election. There is then hope the voters will forget about this time bomb while the perpetrators smile and promise with their fingers crossed behind their backs.

      All up or all down – no hiding by anyone.

    5. Bob, Glen Allen, VA says:

      You've confused the tailoring and reporting rules. Facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons of GHG are required to report. Facilities who are PSD facilites and are expected to have permits before 6/30/11 and emit more than 75,000 short tons/year GHG require EPA-issued GHG permits. After that, it's 100,000 tons/year. EPA believes carbon sequestration is a viable BACT alternative. Let me know when there is one of those that works.

      The rule is not just something to catch big power plants. An electric generation facility at a medium to large landfill can trip the GHG limits and could require permits. I'm limiting production to avoid that.

      You also should not a more pernicious reg, the 1-hour NO2 NAAQS. It's shutting off new and modificed combustion sources all over. I've been trying to get a renewable energy (landfill gas) project permitted for two years, the last year with NAAQS. The problem is not our emissions but emergency generators in an adjacent, unrelated facility.

      The EPA is doing it's damndest to kill US industry.

    6. Evan, Anchorage says:

      I consider myself a moderate, but have become to think of Obama and the enviromental extremists as enemy number one to doing anything in this country.

    7. Tim AZ says:

      The solution to the defanging of the regime and it's govt. agencies is through the power of the purse. This means the congress must not allow the debt limit to be raised. Doing so would leave open a backdoor by which the federal reserve could fund the regime and it's govt agencies. Once Congress has denied this regime's request to raise the debt limit, they must severely reduce funding to all these govt. agencies so as to render them harmless to the American people for the next two years until the people can elect a president that is proud to be an American, and will respect the American citizenry as well as the office of the presidency. I seriously doubt that this regime will honor the authority of the Senate any more then they are now honoring the authority of two federal court judges who have ruled the regime in contempt of court. If we take away their access to tax payer dollars we take away their ability to harm the American people further. Had enough yet?

    8. Bill, Charleston WV says:

      The Endangerment Finding of the EPA relies solely on the IPCC Report, which is flawed in the extreme. No other scientific studies are cited. There needs to be pressure applied to our Representatives and Senators to vote for permanent solutions to the EPA overreach. To have Senator Rockefeller represent us here in West Virginia is the proverbial fox in charge of the hen house. One of his famous quotes, showing his total lack of scientific knowledge, was his claim that he would make sure that the mine drainage would be cleaned from a stream and make sure that it had a pH of zero. These are the people who believe in climate change and the EPA.

    9. Charles Sainte Clair says:

      There is no proof that CO2 is a problem that causes global warming. In fact there is no proof that global warming is not a benefit. If a percentage of the population who already have more than their share wants to return to Eden and live in caves, let them. Leave the rest of us alone.

    10. mike arizona says:

      The EPA claims that the Supreme Court gave it the authority to regulate CO2.

      This is a claim that is not really supported by fact.

      The EPA has repeatedly acknowledged that CO2 does not present a direct endangerment and it acknowledges the the fact that regulation of CO2 regulations can not be done in a fair and balanced way.

      The EPA's claim is based on adding CO2 to a prior group of industrial gases that are suited to point source regulation. They now call this concoction,"A Well Balanced Combination of Six Green House Gases"

      that are technically non-existent on any manageable scale.

      The EPA staff and their legal staff all agree that CO2 is not a direct threat or endangerment to the US .

      The endangerment of the concocted mix is a global form of indirect endangerment.

      The argument is basically that the US is potentially adding the last straw to a stressed environment.

      That is a political issue, and all of the associated hot air from advocates

      does not constitute legal authority for the EPA.

    11. mike arizona says:

      EPA Endangerment Finding

      "This document itself does not convey any judgement or conclusion regarding the question of whether GHS's may be reasonably anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. (Executive Summary)

      "Greenhouse gases, at both current and projected atmospheric concentrations, are not expected to pose exposure risks.." (Appendix C p 157)

      Alan Carlin provide similar opinions in his technical review.

      In his opinion the planned regulation was ineffective, technically risky,,

      extremely expensive, and politically unrealistic.

      An independent team for the UNTFCC expressed similar concerns

      and concluded that the proposed approach was being rammed down the

      UN's throat.(Sep 2008 Technology Study)

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