Tags: Barack Obama | EPA | coal | plants | mandate | technology

Report: EPA May Drop Technology Mandate for Coal-Fired Plants

Image: Report: EPA May Drop Technology Mandate for Coal-Fired Plants
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By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 04:06 PM

When it comes to the stare-down between power plant operators and the Obama administration's controversial plan to cut carbon monoxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be about to blink.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the standard is the "centerpiece for President (Barack) Obama's effort to confront global warming."

However, the Daily Caller reports the EPA is planning to drop its controversial mandate that new coal-fired plants install Carbon Capture and Storage Technology (CCS), without which energy producers cannot meet the 30 percent requirement.

Energy producers have argued that CCS is not commercially available and is installed only in one commercial-sized plant outside the U.S., with large government subsidies, but a 2005 federal law bans the EPA from requiring government-subsidized technology, the Daily Caller reports.

The Boundary Dam power plant in Estevan, Saskatchewan, the only operating coal plant with CCS, so far, required a $1.2 billion refit, which was partly funded by $240 million from the Canadian government.

The Daily Caller is citing a report in InsideEPA, which notes that the CCS mandate still could be kept alive by the Obama administration.

InsideEPA cites a source who said the "EPA decided to drop the CCS mandate in the face of growing legal concern that the technology requirement would not withstand court review, because the projects the agency had relied on to show that CCS is 'adequately demonstrated' and 'commercially available' are faltering."

The Kemper plant in Mississippi, on which EPA often relied to demonstrate that CCS was feasible, originally was supposed to cost $2.8 billion but costs skyrocketed to $6.1 billion and now, the plant is not due to go online until March of next year, with additional delays costing $20 million to $30 million per month, the Daily Caller reports.

The EPA plans to release its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) report this summer.

InsideEPA explained, "EPA's proposed NSPS sets an emissions rate for new coal plants of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, which can only be achieved with partial CCS."

An EPA spokesman told InsideEPA that the NSPS is "an important part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan and will put in place the first-ever national carbon pollution standards for new power plants."

The Energy and Environment Legal Institute in March commented, "The 2005 Energy Policy Act prohibits EPA from using subsidized power plants as examples that technology is commercially viable or that such technology has been ‘adequately demonstrated," the Daily Caller reports.

The Daily Caller said the EPA decided to drop the requirement in order "avoid a political disaster."

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When it comes to the stare-down between power plant operators and the Obama administration's controversial plan to cut carbon monoxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be about to blink.
EPA, coal, plants, mandate, technology
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2015-06-21
Thursday, 21 May 2015 04:06 PM
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