Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reactions To EPA's Proposed CO2 Rule For New Power Plants

Mar 27: Yesterday, WIMS reported on EPA's proposed the first-ever national regulations to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from "new" power plants [See WIMS 3/27/12]. EPA indicated that the proposed regulations under the Clean Air Act follow the 2007 Supreme Court ruling -- i.e. Massachusetts, et al. v. EPA, et al., No. 05-1120 [See WIMS 4/2/07]. The New Source Performance (NSP) standard, would limit emissions from new power plants to no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. EPA emphasized that the proposed rulemaking "only concerns new generating units that will be built in the future, and does not apply to existing units already operating or units that will start construction over the next 12 months." The Agency also said, ""Even without today's action, the power plants that are currently projected to be built going forward would already comply with the standard. As a result, EPA does not project additional cost for industry to comply with this standard."
    In the article, WIMS included some preliminary reaction's to the proposal. Subsequently, EPA and others have issued statements and releases reacting to the proposal. In a separate release EPA summarized some of the positive reaction it had received. For example, John Arensmeyer, CEO, Small Business Majority said, "…National opinion polling we released in September found 76 percent of small business owners support the EPA regulating carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. Another 87 percent believe improving innovation and energy efficiency are good ways to increase prosperity for small businesses…" Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., Chair, Board of Directors of the American Lung Association said, "…By proposing standards for carbon pollution from new facilities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is setting the stage for the next generation of America's power plants to be the least toxic and most modern in the world…"
    EPA also received support from: The Clean Energy Group's Clean Air Policy Initiative; Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk; Dick Munson, SVP, Recycled Energy Development; Ralph Izzo, CEO, Public Service Electric and Gas; Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety; Bill Ritter Jr., Former Colorado Governor; Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT; Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member, Committee on Energy and Commerce; Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member, Committee on Natural Resources; and the American Sustainable Business Council, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and Main Street Alliance.
    Reactions from Congressional Republicans and major industry organizations was harsh and severe. Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee leaders expressed "outrage" at EPA's proposal. Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, "This rule is part of the Obama administration's aggressive plan to change America's energy portfolio and eliminate coal as a source of affordable, reliable electricity generation. EPA continues to overstep its authority and ram through a series of overreaching regulations in its attack on America's power sector. This rule effectively bans new coal plants and sets the stage for higher electricity prices in many regions of the country, which is precisely what Congress and the American public rejected with the failure of cap-and-trade legislation. President Obama likes to say he is for 'all of the above' American energy, but his policies prove otherwise."
    Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee said, "I am gravely concerned about the proposed regulation's impact on jobs and the economy. President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson are circumventing the will of Congress and the American people by moving forward with a standard today that threatens our most abundant, reliable, and affordable domestic electricity source - coal. President Obama is also putting our economy at risk at a time when it is most vulnerable. Congress has said no to regulating greenhouse gases because of the impact it will have on the economy, and what we are seeing is that EPA's regulations already are having a devastating impact on jobs and supply. We're seeing coal-fired electricity plants close and will likely see electricity rates skyrocket because of other EPA regulations and the greenhouse gas standards will only make matters worse."
    Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), announced at an EPW hearing his intentions "to put a stop to President Obama's new electricity tax that would have a devastating impact on American consumers at a time when gas prices are skyrocketing." Senator Inhofe said, "It is hard to believe that the Obama-EPA is announcing a massive energy tax today on American families at a time when they are already reeling from skyrocketing gas prices. So much for President Obama's claims to be for an 'all-of-the-above' approach -- these regulations are designed specifically to kill coal in American electricity generation, which will significantly raise energy prices on American families. This plan is the most devastating installment in the Obama administration's war on affordable energy: it achieves their cap-and-trade agenda through regulation instead of legislation. Today, Americans can be certain that the President is going forward to fulfill his campaign promise that under his plan of a cap-and-trade system electricity prices would 'necessarily skyrocket.' 
    "Remember these greenhouse gas regulations are all economic pain for no environmental gain. Their sole purpose is aimed supposedly at stopping global warming, yet even the administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, has admitted these regulations will have no impact on the climate. Why at a time when energy prices are skyrocketing is the administration working to impose tax increases that have no benefit? Today, as the Obama administration rolls out its immense energy tax, I am announcing my intent to kill this proposal by bringing it to a vote before the US Senate through a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). We were successful in stopping their job-killing agenda through legislation when we defeated cap-and-trade, now our fight is to stop them from forcing it on the American people through regulations. An overwhelming number of Senators have insisted they want to rein in the Obama-EPA; the CRA I will introduce will give them the opportunity to decide whether they will stand with President Obama and his destructive war on affordable energy, or their constituents back home, who will suffer the most from hundreds of thousands of lost jobs and the skyrocketing electricity and gas prices this agenda will impose on them."
    U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten said, "With today's proposed rule on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, EPA has once again shown that the administration's 'all of the above' energy policy is really 'some of the above.' Today's proposal could lead to higher energy costs that are bad for families and businesses. Having been thoroughly rejected by Congress, EPA is now attempting an end-around designed to place an indefinite ban on the construction of conventional coal-fired power plants in America. Coal is an essential part of a diverse, reliable, and affordable energy mix, supplying nearly 40 percent of our electricity. It remains a cost-effective and secure source of power in a time of soaring energy prices. The proposed rule could also affect natural gas generation, because several types of natural gas-fired generation plants may not meet EPA's prescribed greenhouse gas emissions standards.

    "EPA's proposal is rife with legal and structural deficiencies that could ultimately allow the scope of the rule to expand well beyond the entities EPA seeks to regulate. Even worse, the agency has proposed this dubious new regulation while a legal cloud hangs over the fundamental question of whether it can regulate greenhouse gases at all. Today's announcement is another in a long string of actions this administration has taken that weaken our energy security and raise energy prices. Given recent court decisions finding that EPA overreached—including three in the last week—the Chamber will be evaluating all of its options to overturn this rule if it is ultimately issued."
    The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons said, "Today, the EPA proposed yet another regulation that will hurt manufacturers, consumers and jobs. Looking at the broad range of costly EPA regulations, from Boiler MACT, Utility MACT and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, to coal ash and other greenhouse gas regulations, it's evident that the Administration is playing a primary role in the 20 percent cost disadvantage facing manufacturers in the United States. The cumulative impact of these regulations is bad news for our manufacturing economy and will result in less reliable electricity at a higher price.

    "Specifically, this latest proposed regulation would limit the construction of new coal fuel power plants, taking a stable and affordable source of energy off the table and putting the power grid at further risk. The impact will be higher electricity prices on manufacturers and consumers versus lower energy prices that allow manufacturers to continue to lead the economic recovery and create jobs. With this latest action from the EPA to effectively take clean coal off the table, it is clear the agency doesn't understand the benefits of a true 'all of the above' energy strategy that grows jobs and enhances our energy security. Manufacturers and the 12 million people making things in America want a strategy that includes all available domestic sources of energy, including clean coal. Piling on with more costly regulations is not the answer."

    Access a release and supporting statements from EPA (click here). Access a release from House Republican members of the E&C Committee (click here). Access a release and video from Sen. Inhofe (click here). Access the statement from the Chamber of Commerce (click here). Access the statement from NAM (click here). Access details from EPA (click here). Access the prepublication copy of the proposed rule (click here). Access the Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Proposed Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units (click here).  [#Climate, #Air]
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