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  • EPA CO2 Regulation Effectively Bans New Coal Facilities

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new rule to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, which would effectively ban new coal power plants, as its emissions standards are too low to be met by conventional coal-fired facilities.

    This stands in stark contrast with the President’s supposed “all of the above energy approach” and sends a strong signal that coal is not part of the President’s energy vision for America. In combination with other EPA regulations that contribute to the premature shutdown of existing coal plants, the EPA’s actions represent one of the greatest threats to the electric sector and America’s energy supply.

    The new rule requires power plants to meet an output-based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. Other than natural gas-fired power plants built in recent years, most power plants, and especially coal-fired ones, would fail to meet that standard.

    Bloomberg reports:

    The average U.S. coal plant emits 2,249 pounds of carbon dioxide for each megawatt hour of power produced, compared with 1,135 pounds for a natural gas plant, according to the EPA.

    While existing power plants and those holding EPA permits for upcoming construction would be excluded, the rule would prevent any new coal-fired power plants from being built unless they were outfitted with carbon-reducing technology, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS is still a very expensive technology, and questions remain about where to store the captured carbon.

    Although the EPA’s CO2 regulations rest on a shaky “endangerment” finding, they would have far-reaching effects on the American economy. Heritage Foundation research studying the economic impact from EPA’s CO2 emissions restrictions found:

    Regulating CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act will burden the economy with higher energy costs, higher administrative compliance costs for businesses, higher bureaucratic costs for enforcing the regulations, and higher legal costs from the inevitable litigation.

    For average Americans, the expensive EPA rule would mean higher energy costs, fewer jobs, and a less prosperous economy. A recent video by Energy for America shows the real-life impact of regulations and subsidies for alternative energies—designed to reduce coal’s contribution to the nation’s energy supply—on the residents of Craig, Colorado, an economy fueled by coal.

    It’s important to remember that the greatest progress toward environmental protection has not been accomplished by government regulation but through greater economic growth. Economic freedom and freer trade promote economic growth and prosperity, which provides society with the wealth and resources to pursue sound environmental policies. Increased government regulation, on the other hand, would stifle economic growth and could lead to counterproductive environmental results. As Heritage’s Terry Miller and Anthony Kim explain:

    Policy efforts aimed at imposing stricter environmental standards…undercut the economic growth necessary for greater efforts to protect the environment. Such regulations only serve as feel-good actions, without generating real “change” that could mitigate climate change and its possible negative impacts.

    Case in point: regulations subjecting existing coal plants that wish to make upgrades to costly and exhaustive New Source Review requirements, which actually discourage energy efficiency and safety improvements that plants would undertake on their own accord.

    Congress should step up and stop the EPA from bypassing Congress’s sound rejection of cap and trade. The EPA regulations on CO2 are just one of those other ways to skin the cat, as President Obama famously promised.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to EPA CO2 Regulation Effectively Bans New Coal Facilities

    1. Bobbie says:

      Well, how does the special interests of the EPA get authorization? Of course there's going to be different readings of co2 emissions from two different sources! what good is destroying one? Where is the money going? LOSE JOBS THAT MAKE MONEY AND CREATE GOVERNMENT MAKE WORK??!! Someone should look into the owners of those businesses with epa permits in hand! This is outrageous and only promotes CRISIS! It'll spread sickness from those unable to afford heat! People are too good to be led by ignorance, stupidity, insults, condescension, belittlement, discrimination, DEVIANCE AND BIAS bashing us into crisis after intended crisis!

      • anonymous says:

        Bobbie, or whoever you are, global warming is far worse than you are aware of. The regulations of the EPA are too weak, and the world will become inhospitable to human life very quickly. You are not a scientist, not an engineer, and not even a college graduate. I know you are not because of the way you express yourself.
        You probably don't know that American wages are only 77 percent as high as German wages. The same corporations you are defending are making you poorer than you should be. Trust the scientists man. They work for peanuts in universities to serve you. Your enemy is the greed mongers on Wall Street. They play your mind like a fiddle. Renewable energy will be introduced and coal will be phased out. Nothing can change that, and the only question is whether industrialists will realize they are killing their grandchildren if they do not act more quickly. Global warming will kill all humanity within as little as 100 years, but with certainty within 1000 years. The climatologists themselves are afraid to express their worst fears. They are more conservative because of their fear of political retribution. Time is running out.

        • Danny says:

          Anonymous, real science will tell you that global warming is an incredible hoax being played on the American people by politicians whose interests are based in things they promote. In other words, they have invested in wind and solar and are passing legislation to force people to invest in their companies. Do you know when most of the established heat records were recorded in this country? In the 1880's. Well before the industry and population growth. If you check out the cycles of our sun and planets you will find that the earth, sun and moon wobble through their cycle about every 58 years or so. That's why most people can recall one very hot year and one very cold year in their lifetime. People have very little impact on global weather conditions. Please be smart and read the facts for yourself.

          • Annonymous2 says:

            Danny, I'm amazed by your ignorance. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific information that supports the conclusion that anthropological emissions (those created by human actions) are causing climate change. The sun goes through cycles, yes, but those cycles are not responsible for our current situation…ask any credible scientist with knowledge in the matter. And the highest average temperatures have been recorded with the last decade! I have no idea where you're getting your information, but you should really check your sources. Where is their funding come from? What interests do they serve? Everyone has interest, I admit that, but sound science is based on non biased assessment of the fact to reach the truth. Never before has there been so much science and so much consensus supporting the conclusion that climate change is not only real, but a great threat to our way of life. Those who deny it just have the means to be heard more loudly than the vast majority who accept the truth.

    2. KJinAZ says:

      With all the hot air the EPA is putting out they should have been banned already. They need to GO AWAY!

    3. Saltire says:

      What happened to the "all the above" approach from last week that the President was touting? Another listen to what I say, but not what I do feint.

    4. Slick says:

      IF "Congress has the power to stop the EPA from bypassing Congress’s sound rejection of cap and trade," then WHY aren't they doing it??? Power for our utilities is a basic part of American society, and if Congress is UNWILLING to do their job by reigning in the EPA, then it is time to replace every single one of them with new officials who understand that they work of US, not the other way around!

      This whole process reminds me of a little kid begging for ice cream. The child asks over and over, and the parent patiently says no. The child has learned from past experience that if he/she hangs in there long enough, eventually the parent will give in because the parent has done it in the past. It doesn't ALWAYS work, but the law of averages says that the more often the child pushes the limit, the more often the child will succeed.

      It is past time for Congress to puff up their collective chests and say "NO" with firm resolved. It is their JOB to protect the citizens of this country from a tyrannical form of abuse by the Federal government!

    5. Slick says:

      IF "Congress has the power to stop the EPA from bypassing Congresss sound rejection of cap and trade," then WHY aren't they doing it??? Power for our utilities is a basic part of American society, and if Congress is UNWILLING to do their job by reigning in the EPA, then it is time to replace every single one of them with new officials who understand that they work of US, not the other way around!

    6. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Congress could exclude the funding of CO2 regulations and enforcement from their next budget, or most likely a CR since the Senate will stonewall their budget, while they also include a specific exemption of CO2 as a pollutant from the Clean Air Act. The Senate still has to approve and the President still has to sign their CRs.

      As new coal-fired power plants are seemingly so far removed from our lives, it may be easy to give the EPA a pass on their regulations of them. How long before they remove exemptions for existing plants, both coal and natural gas-fired? How long before they reduce the output CO2 per MWH on all plants? How long before CO2 regulations affect individuals via their cars, such as how many, how big, how many miles, and homes, such as how cold in summer, how warm in winter, etc.? If we give them an inch, they'll take a mile.

    7. allen says:

      Start laying off People in the EPA, In other Words "Thin The Herd"

    8. Lloyd Scallan says:

      We knew this was coming when "Cap and Trade" went down in flames. What we must realize is this is not the EPA acting on it's own without direction from Obama. This is all Obama. He told us what he would do, now he is doing it. Yet Congress, either Dems or Repbs, do nothing to stop this insanity.

    9. MArk A. Martin says:

      Clean air is a good thing; but, you better have an "energy pollicy" that is sensible and affordable for the government AND the consumer. Time to flush THIS administration down the sewer!

    10. O2BMe says:

      I guess we can sell our coal to China. A lot of our jobs have already gone there. Maybe India could use some of our coal also.

    11. Slick says:

      Perhaps we should change the name for CO2 to OSU . . . . oh screw you!!!!

    12. Gail Smith says:

      Someone needs to ban the EPA

    13. Harper Ave says:

      Every night, I'm bombarded by the coal industry and their talk about clean coal. If clean coal is anything but an oxymoron there should be no problem with coal adhering to the new EPA standard. If the term Clean Coal is just a marketing ploy then the coal industry will protest about how clean air standards will cost them dearly.

      However, not implementing clean air standards does have costs. Epstein 'Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1219: 73–98.' did a cost accounting of coal and estimated coal's externalities to be between $0.17 – $0.27 per kWh in addition to the price paid. In Michigan the price of electricity is about $0.08 kWh with addition $0.06 for transportation. So the cost of coal the consumers pay is only about 25% of true cost.

      Having such a small amount of the cost of a good reflected in the market price results in a huge market failure. As a free market guy, can I assume you would support a Pigouvian tax on coal of about $0.25 / kWh?

    14. Harper Ave says:

      Michigan requires utilities to produced ~ 15% of their energy using renewable energy by 2015. The Michigan Public Service Commission recently reported (www.michigan.gov/mpsc.) on utilities progress in meeting these standards. They report that 1) the utilities are on tract to met their 15% obligation by 2015 2) the cost of renewable energy is much less then originally estimated and combined with conservation is much less then new coal. 3) The renewable energy mandate has created jobs in Michigan and 4) renewable energy mandate has shuttered some very expensive and highly polluting coal plants.

      These assertions only make since as Michigan exports about $1.5 billion per year buying coal out of state. Replacing 15% of coal with renewable energy means over $200 million dollars stays in Michigan and creates jobs for Michigan.

    15. O_Henry says:

      The USA could have Energy Efficiency in 10 years or less.

      The USA could be fully energy independent in less than 10 years. Here’s how: 1)begin placing small nuclear reactors (after the designs used safely in our submarines and aircraft carriers for more than 50 years) in every town of 10K population (more reactors where the population is larger i.e. Chicago, New York, etc) or more. Replace the large grid with local electrical grids during this transition. 2) start fueling stoves, hot water heaters, dryers etc. with hydrogen rather than natural gas. The by product of hydrogen combustion is H2O so drains would be needed but a small price for renewable energy. Also, this gets around the corrosive nature of a hydrogen application for an internal combustion engine. 3) make natural gas applications available for the garages and drives of homes for small scale Compressed Natural Gas use in automobiles.

      This still permits full individual freedoms without levering the power of the government to force anyone to do anything i.e. no “green cars” and no one “compelled” to make them or buy them.

      Wind and solar energy applications are still on the market without government subsidy simply at market demands, not artificially government incentivised demands.

      Think about it, it could work.

    16. Lloyd Weaver says:

      CO2 is not causing global warming, solar radiation is. The western land mass hockystick surface temp trend over time the basis for this regs is a western effect only and is El Nino caused. The eastern pacific landmasses have no such hockystick effect, nor do Mt. Washington weather station data despite an 89% man-made CO2 increase since 1970 because it’s not measuring surface temps, rather is measuring jet stream temps. Also note that the ice caps are increasing due to more snow due to global warming, but we are near the 100,000 year cycle interglacial temp peak whereby temps decrease. EPA engineers and scientists should be ashamed of their very poor technical and scientific performance or analysis of increasing temps.

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