Breaking: EPA Kills US Coal Plants

Thu, 2008-11-13 15:06Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Breaking: EPA Kills US Coal Plants

Wow. A decision by the Environmental Protection Agency today has ruled that all new and proposed coal-fired power plants must have their carbon dioxide emissions regulated.

What this means is that 30 permits for new coal-fired power plants in the seven state directly regulated by the EPA’s permitting process, plus projects on all Indian Reservations will immediately die because of this ruling.

Wow. A decision by the Environmental Protection Agency today has ruled that all new and proposed coal-fired power plants must have their carbon dioxide emissions regulated.

What this means is that 30 permits for new coal-fired power plants in the seven state directly regulated by the EPA’s permitting process, plus projects on all Indian Reservations will immediately die because of this ruling.

Joanna Spalding, the Sierra Club attorney who successfully argued the case, delivered this statement:

Today’s decision opens the way for meaningful action to fight global warming and is a major step in bringing about a clean energy economy. This is one more sign that we must begin repowering, refueling and rebuilding America. The EAB rejected every Bush Administration excuse for failing to regulate the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States. This decision gives the Obama Administration a clean slate to begin building our clean energy economy for the 21st century.

Here’s the official statement from Sierra Club on the decision.

And here’s the official ruling by the Environmental Appeals Board (PDF).

The U.S. produces about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Burning coal contributes 40 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions. Coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel. According to the United Nations Environment Program, coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil.


Please take a moment and vote for this amazing news on Digg.com!

 

Comments

Well this was an unexpected surprise as was the announcement by Professor Michio Kaku on his show ‘Explorations’ that the U.S. will actually hit its Kyoto targets that were not signed by the Bush administration. Due to his lax enforcement of the financial sector and the free reign given to Wall Street by the previous occupant of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan the US is actually on target to meet those Kyoto protocol targets after all.

A link would be helpful Rick.

Kevin,

Sorry didn’t think of that as it is an mp3 file and not on a webpage. Professor Kaku’s program ‘Explorations’ is available at our Pacifica Radio affiliate KPFT, Houston here: http://archive.kpft.org/mp3/081113_130001explorations.MP3

Sorry but the link I provided will not work. To play the mp3 or download it you will have to go to http://archive.kpft.org and scroll down to the listing ‘Explorations’ in the left column dated Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:00 pm. Then go to the right column and click on either the download or play buttons to listen to the program. The part where Prof. Kaku mentions the irony that the US is be obeying Kyoto because of the deep economic recession can be found at 4 min. and 9 sec. into the program.

As an added plus Prof. Kaku talks about a crackpot scientist in the Former Soviet Union called Lysenko (sp?), 7 min and 50 secs into the program. and rejected the theory of evolution. Nikita Kruchev favored this alleged scientist but his rejection of evolution had a dire effect on the Soviet Union’s potato crop.

Well this was an unexpected surprise as was the announcement by Professor Michio Kaku on his show ‘Explorations’ that the U.S. will actually hit its Kyoto targets that were not signed by the Bush administration. Due to his lax enforcement of the financial sector and the free reign given to Wall Street by the previous occupant of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan the US is actually on target to meet those Kyoto protocol targets after all.

but, do you think that the EPA may have noticed that they are going to have a new boss?

Cheney successfully tamped down discussion and consideration of rational plans.
But the lobbyist rats who helped him muzzle the agencies have jumped ship.

You know that Constitution that people working for the government swear to protect and defend? The Supreme Court? That’s what the EPA took notice of.
_______________excerpt__________________

… Sierra Club preserved this issue for review by stating in its comments on the draft permit that a requirement to set a CO2 BACT emissions limit might be an outgrowth of the Massachusetts v. EPA case that was then still pending before the Supreme Court. The Region responded to Sierra Club’s comment by discussing the April 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), which held that CO2 fits within the CAA’s definition of “air pollutant,” and explaining why it believed, notwithstanding this decision, that no CO2 BACT limit was required in the Permit.

Although the Supreme Court determined that greenhouse gases, such as CO2, are “air pollutants” under the CAA, the Massachusetts
decision did not address whether CO2 is a pollutant “subject to regulation” under the Clean Air Act…..

By our holding today, we do not conclude that the CAA (or an historical Agency interpretation) requires the Region to impose a CO2 BACT limit. Instead, we conclude that the record does not support the Region’s proffered reason for not imposing a CO2 BACT limit –- that although EPA initially could have interpreted the CAA to require a CO2 BACT limit, the Region no longer can do so because of an historical Agency interpretation.

Accordingly, we remand the Permit to the Region for it to reconsider whether or not to impose a CO2 BACT limit and to develop an adequate record for its decision.

We also decline to sustain the Region’s permitting decision on the alternative grounds the Region argues in this appeal. Sierra Club
contends that regulations EPA promulgated in 1993 to require monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions, as required by section 821
of the public law known as the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, constitute “regulation” of CO within the meaning of CAA sections 165
and 169. The Region argues that we should reject Sierra Club’s contention on the grounds that those regulations are not “under” the CAA within the meaning of CAA sections 165 and 169 because section 821 is not part of the CAA. As we explain below, this argument is at odds with the Agency’s prior statements regarding the relationship between section 821 and the CAA, including statements in EPA’s Part 75 regulations, and these inconsistencies preclude our acceptance of the Region’s argument in this proceeding.

In remanding this permit to the Region for reconsideration of the CO2 BACT issue, we recognize that the issue of whether CO2 is “subject to regulation under [the] Act” is an issue of national scope and that all parties would be better served by addressing it in the context of an action of nationwide scope rather than in the context of a specific permit proceeding. We elaborate on this point below….

——————-

Download it, read it, think about it.
More work remains.

Administrators, please edit the beginning paragraph to make it accurate.

You write: “… ruled that all new and proposed coal-fired power plants must have their carbon dioxide emissions regulated….”

This is wrong. See the excerpt I quoted above, if not the whole document.

In PR, it’s important to be a reliable source, since none of the other PR operators ever are.

Get this one right. Work DOES remain on this issue. It’s not over.

So are how are we going to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer since coal provides 49% of American electical power?

Oops, I introduced a typo into that excerpt I pasted above.

Where you see:
> “regulation” of CO within the meaning of CAA sections 165

the correct text is:
“regulation” of CO2 within the meaning of CAA sections 165

(The subscript “2” copied from the PDF off by one line every time – I deleted but failed to replace that one, sorry.)

ANYhoo – the money quote for DeSmog to follow up is likely figuring out the implications of

“… In remanding this permit to the Region for reconsideration of the CO2 BACT issue, we recognize that the issue of whether CO2 is “subject to regulation under [the] Act” is an issue of national scope and that all parties would be better served by addressing it in the context of an action of nationwide scope rather than in the context of a specific permit proceeding. We elaborate on this point below….”

Whoa! The Environmental Protection Agency is actually being the Environmental Protection Agency instead of the Environmental Pollution Agency! I’m astonished! And Obama hasn’t taken office yet? Golly!

Third try – lest people be mislead by my typo in the excerpt, it should read “CO2” in each case, never “CO
(Typo is: … of CO within …)

And, again, seriously, folks, please fix your headline.

This returns the decision to the agency with guidance to develop a record and rejects their attempt to claim they didn’t need to address the question. It doesn’t end the issue, it keeps it alive and recommends a national answer.

Don’t set people up for disappointment by overstating this.
It’s a call to work on, not an end to, this major problem.
That’s a great victory, yes. It’s not over.

Hi Hank, I hear you that work is not done on opposing the construction of coal plants in the US, but this decision does effectively kill 30 + applications for new construction. 

If coal emits 1.25 times as much CO2 as oil, then coal isn’t the “dirtiest”. Athabasca Tar Sands is. Hands down.

…to ‘dirty’ than just CO2 emissions. Coal emits soot and other crap as well. Though Tar Sands are still rather nasty

Well, I guess this means that I look for a new job since I work for an engineering company that builds coal plants. This also means that there will be no electricity generation growth in the US. Nuclear is tied up in courts forever, gas and oil are way too expensive to be competitive. So, I guess we conserve, move energy intensive industries to China and India, and downsize. Of course, unemployment will sky-rocket, but while you are in the unemployment line, the air will be cleaner.

This EPA ruling is an exciting early signal that our excellent federal enviromental laws may once again be enforced. That’s great news for the land, air, water, people and biota in coal country USA.

http://www.bestmediablog.com/