The EPA’s new regulations on building new coal-fired power plants are expected to go into effect today, requiring strict new pollution controls that energy companies say will make it “impossible” to build the plants, only that’s not actually true.
The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
Industry officials and environmentalists said in interviews that the rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls.
“This standard effectively bans new coal plants,” said Joseph Stanko, who heads government relations at the law firm Hunton and Williams and represents several utility companies. “So I don’t see how that is an ‘all of the above’ energy policy.”
Except for you know, the coal plants being built anyway.
The rule provides an exception for coal plants that are already permitted and beginning construction within a year. There are about 20 coal plants now pursuing permits; two of them are federally subsidized and would meet the new standard with advanced pollution controls.
Oops. It’s like the Obama administration is actually doing something to help the energy industry transition and to make sure new plants meet the new pollution standards. Funny how that works. And hey, natural gas plants are half the pollution and natural gas is cheap right now, because we produce so much of it. It’s better than coal, and I say this living in a state where you can get “Friends of Coal” license plates. From the state. Official and everything.
Somehow, the dire predictions of the end of America over these rules keeps failing to come true.