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EPA Imposes New ‘War on Coal’ Regulations

Kentucky congressman says change essentially renders it “illegal to build a coal-fired electricity-generating plant in America.”

Bill Straub


October 2, 2013 - 2:17 am
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WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency, as pledged, has imposed strict new greenhouse gas emissions standards on newly constructed power plants, drawing immediate objections from coal-state lawmakers who expressed a determination to get the regulations reversed.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, in a speech focused on the new rules at the National Press Club, said that global climate change caused by carbon pollution “is one of the most significant public health threats of our time,” thus forcing her agency to adopt stringent measures.

“By taking common-sense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children,” McCarthy said. “These standards will also spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy.”

But climate-change skeptics and energy state lawmakers maintained that the changes further reflect President Obama’s ongoing “war on coal,” implementing a plan that will require new coal plants to install expensive equipment, which, in turn, will lead to higher utility bills.

“This is another attempt by the president to fulfill his long-term commitment to shut down our nation’s coal mines,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, the nation’s third-largest coal producer.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, called the new regulations “extreme” and said that the change essentially renders it “illegal to build a coal-fired electricity-generating plant in America.”

“This move is another attempt to bankrupt the coal industry to fulfill a campaign promise to radical environmentalists,” Whitfield said, adding that “electricity consumers will pay the price, making our economy less competitive in the global market place.”

The EPA’s decision was far from unexpected. Obama laid out an extensive climate-change plan last June that called for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which are produced in great quantity by coal-fired power plants. As a result of the Clean Air Act, the new curbs do not require congressional authorization.

Coal-fired plants account for about 40 percent of the nation’s power.

Under the amended rules, expected to be finalized sometime next year, new large natural gas-fired power plant turbines will be required to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour but would be given some flexibility under the plan to meet the EPA’s goals.

Currently, the most efficient coal-fired plants emit CO2 at a rate of about 1,800 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. Whitfield said the cleanest coal-fired electricity technology presently available, known as ultra-supercritical, cannot meet the new EPA standard.

The new regulations require new coal plants to install technology that will capture carbon before it can be released into the atmosphere. The technology, however, is not yet available. EPA is so confident in its promise and eventual availability, however, that it is giving coal-fired plants only seven years to comply.

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All Comments   (7)
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Abolish the EPA or reduce it down to a small agency with no regulatory power which is only able to propose regulation to congress.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I were Canadian, I would be building coal fired generating plants all along the border wherever there were rail line access, and selling the electricity back to the US as fast as I could build them....
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just as the science (flat temperatures, quiet sun) is proving that climate change politics and policy has been an expensive hoax, we get these new rules that will shut down coal fired generation in the US. This willful destruction of value/wealth by the gov't bureaucracies must stop.

Our coal will still be mined, but shipped overseas for use in power plants there.

The technology for "capturing carbon" is to pump the stack gasses (mostly carbon dioxide) into underground reservoirs. The process will use a large percentage of the electricity produced by the plant, making the remaining electricity to be sold very expensive/uneconomic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just saw that, in the gov't shutdown, only 6.6% of EPA employees are considered essential. Thus, we should fire the 93.4% that are not essential and abolish their jobs.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's do better than that, let us close the EPA completely along with the DoEnergy, DoEducation and all of the other agencies which are not Constitutional......
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment

Sympathetic as I am to the goal of reducing all the junk we expel into the atmosphere, AGW is a poor reason to impose such draconian circumstances on an entire industry and a region of the country that depends upon it.

AGW is a poor justification for two reasons: first, there may not be any AGW and if there is global warming it may not be the result of carbon emissions; and second, the higher energy prices which will result will simply drive energy intensive industries overseas where they will consume just as much energy as before but there it will be produced from coal fired plants with inferior technology and will aggravate the carbon emissions problem globally.

One wonders why the Obamanauts cannot follow that reasoning. Or perhaps, one wonders why they seek such a result if they do realize the ultimate consequence of their policies.

Perhaps, just possibly, it's not about solving the problem, its about making a moral statement at a cost they will not bear personally.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Then don't build one in America, build it in a state and meet the JBTs from the EPA at the state line with the National Guard.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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