New Greenhouse Regs for Power Plants: Will EPA Go to Extremes?

Greenwire (subscription required) reports that EPA has sent its proposed regulation establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new and modified power plants to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review

The stringency of the regulation is unknown to outsiders at this time. Environmental lobbyists hope EPA will set the bar so high that only natural gas power plants, or coal-fired plants equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, can comply. Industry representatives want EPA to propose separate standards for coal- and gas-fired electric generating units reflecting the different carbon intensities of coal and natural gas.

No previous NSPS has ever required new power plants to use natural gas rather than coal, and none has ever required modified plants to switch from coal to natural gas. Industry representatives contend that Congress never intended the NSPS program to block construction of coal power plants or mandate fuel switching. They’re right.

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One response to “New Greenhouse Regs for Power Plants: Will EPA Go to Extremes?

  1. The EPA will probably publish the proposed rule before the election, but may not promulgate it until after the election. Why not? They will get their goal of destroying coal power and they know the Republicans do not have the political will to rescind those rules. Remember, on his way out the door, Clinton gave us the the very restrictive NSR rules that pretty much meant that you couldn’t do maintenance replace in kind of permitted controls in power plants. Under the current rules, you must consider GHG CCS (that doesn’t exist and has zero infrastructure) for new Title V sources that are not major for GHG. I’ve done this idiot exercise for 4MW power plants at landfills in Virginia and NC when the nearest DEMONSTRATION CCS is in Alabama. I’ve spent 2.5 years getting a permit for a small power plant because of the 1-hr NO2 rule modeling. This plant failed when it was not running because you have to assume that off-site emergency generators run 8760 hours/year. The EPA has issued rules that may make landfill gas a solid waste (which will require major changes in landfill operations). Although the the EPA has put those rules on hold, states are not issuing permits under the rules in effect.

    Do I really think the EPA will do an NSPS for power plants? Look at the current GHG rules, the boiler MACT and the 1-hr NO2 rule which have made it more difficult to get anything permitted. I see no problem with them issuing the coup de grace. The Republicans don’t have the political to stop or rescind these actions.

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