March 19 News: Why EPA Carbon Rules For New Power Plants May Get Delayed

Some critics are saying the EPA must revisit its carbon rule for new power plants because it lumped coal and gas into the same category. [Washington Post]

At issue here is a rule the EPA proposed last March that would set carbon emissions standards under the Clean Air Act for all new coal- and gas-fired power plants built in the United States. Going forward, any new plant would have to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity produced.

Most modern natural-gas plants can meet that standard, so they should be fine. Conventional coal plants, however, average upwards of 1,800 pounds per megawatt-hour. That means it would be impossible to build a new coal facility in the United States unless it could capture and bury its carbon-dioxide — a technology that’s still very much unproven.

The problem with this proposed carbon rule, critics say, is that the EPA took a rather novel step by lumping both coal plants and gas plants together into one “source category” — essentially holding them to the same carbon standard. That’s not how this section of the Clean Air Act is usually implemented.

The question seems to be whether the EPA will delay the rule in order to separate coal and gas into different categories, or if the rule will get delayed in court.

A new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said the U.S. could face a Hurricane Katrina every other year. [USA Today]

The Senate will vote on several amendments today, potentially including: stripping the military biofuels program, requiring federal agencies to plan for climate change and approving the Keystone pipeline. [The Hill]

Approving the Keystone XL pipeline may not even buy President Obama any bipartisan goodwill. [National Journal]

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) said he would place a procedural hold on Gina McCarthy’s nomination to be EPA Adminstrator until he gets an update on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to repair a levee on the Mississippi River system. [The Hill]

UK government plans to remove climate change from the under-14 national curriculum is facing backlash from student and environmental groups. [Guardian]

Coastal communities are continually reminded of the difficulty of adapting to storm surges and damaging Nor’easters. [New York Times]

Could the Chinese solar company Suntech’s default on its debts mean the solar industry will continue to consolidate? [Bloomberg]

President Obama’s nominee to for Secretary of the Interior will appear before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thrusday. [The Hill]

14 Responses to March 19 News: Why EPA Carbon Rules For New Power Plants May Get Delayed

  1. Joan Savage says:

    Video: Largest concentrated solar power plant opens in Abu Dhabi

  2. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    I recently completed reading “Living in a Dangerous Climate” by Dr. Renee Hetherington. Of the twenty-something books on climate change I have read in the last few years, none offered such an interdisciplinary approach to the subject as that presented in Dr. Hetherington’s book. She even has the audacity to make the claim that Darwin was right, but not ‘exactly’ right. She offers evidence of rapid evolution with “hopeful monsters” having survived in the past (Dick Cheney anyone? Kidding of course;). I’m recommending this book to the CP choir in hopes of future message board discussions.

  3. Joan Savage says:

    BBC referred to the “planet’s limited energy resources” almost as if human demand alone was reason enough to go solar.

  4. Tami Kennedy says:

    If they’re going to lighten carbon limits for coal they should tighten them for natural gas for a net zero standard. Wait a minute, OK for coal to become harder to restrict, not like coal industry profits more valuable than the environment.

  5. Mike Roddy says:

    The 1,000 lb per mgwh is OK for gas, too, as long as methane releases from extraction are included. That could shut down a lot of fracking, too.

    There is going to be an internal fight over the methodology that determines emissions from gas plants. Industry usually wins those. Ryan and Joe, please look into this.

  6. We shouldn’t be building new coal plants in this country. Climate change is at a too-late stage for that. We have plenty of economic alternatives to coal (solar, wind) that don’t represent anywhere near the level of trouble coming from coal. If the coal plants can’t be economical without being harmful, then don’t build them.

  7. Leif says:

    Indeed, all life cycle external costs should be factored into the environmental carbon footprint of fossil fuels. Trucks and trains that haul the stuff, methane released, health and infrastructure mitigation, food shortages and water loss, every last dime. That should even be applied to Green energy to keep the balance equal.
    I would even entertain all social service cost and military costs priced into the energy costs. A BTU of energy should become the new international currency. Do away with all taxes, deficit interest and every other social tax. No war, the price of energy goes down. A healthy population the cost of energy goes down. The same for
    a non-corrupt Government. All payed for with green energy from the sun. Distributed energy brings power and money to the People, not profits to the Fossil Baron Polluters and Wall Street.

  8. What’s with the resurgence of the ‘do away with all taxes’ meme? For government to exist, it needs revenue. And, from where I’m sitting it looks like the wealthy need to pay quite a bit more.

  9. Leif says:

    Robert: I believe I said “.. all social services” That implies the cost of Government in my book.
    The “Wealthy” would be paying a lot more to power those 500 gallons/hr Bimbo yachts, i.e. They would then be paying their fair share of government costs instead of profiting from the pollution of the commons that you and I are now stuck holding the bag for.

  10. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Looks like the UK govt is staggering from bad to worse but at least they are not substituting creationism, ME

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Cheney is definitely in the ‘hateful monster’ class.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Not yet, ME, not yet.

  13. Merrelyn Emery says:

    You are so reliable Mulga. Why don’t you lash out every now and again? ME

  14. Paul Magnus says:

    So will we… Idle no more… must see vid…

    First Nations join with groups in the US. Will physical stop pipelines. Will use the courts. Stakes are high.

    First Nations say they will fight oilsands, pipeline – Canada – CBC News
    An alliance of First Nations leaders from the U.S. and Canada say they are gearing up to fight the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines both in the courts and through unspecified direct action.