By Kuper Jones
Under President Obama’s direction, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is wreaking havoc on the United States economy and raising energy bills for hardworking Americans. The federal agency’s new proposed regulations governing power plants, known as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), are the latest example. This is an attempt to halt future coal-fired power plant construction. The radical proposed rules for NSPS should not be finalized.
One of the biggest problems with the NSPS is the lack of scientific support behind it. With the NSPS, the EPA is attempting to force an expensive carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology on the coal industry when its real world application is unproven. According to the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to implement standards known as the Best System of Emissions Reduction (BSER). The rules would name CCS as the BSER. Instead of basing these standards on proven technologies, EPA is basing them on model projects that have not been commercially tested.
EPA cites four model projects as proof that CCS is technically feasible. Curiously, none of the projects have been completed yet –two are under construction and two are still in planning phases. Moreover, these model projects receive significant amounts of federal funding. Plants that have to adopt the new standards will have to purchase the expensive technology on their own, without the help of federal funding (and they will inevitably pass these costs on to American energy consumers).
Current statutes require that certain criteria be met when establishing BSER –that emission levels are “achievable” and the technology is “adequately” or commercially demonstrated. EPA administrators must then demonstrate that a balance of economic, environmental and energy factors were used in making their determinations. CCS has not met any of these criteria. Instead, they have created the “technical feasibility” test –based on criteria skewed in favor of the EPA agenda.
EPA is trying to set CCS as the minimum technology requirement for coal plants. However, the ten most recently permitted coal plants have seen their state agencies reject this requirement. State agencies have rejected for reasons stated above –workforces lack experience with CCS, it hasn’t been commercially demonstrated, nor is it cost effective.
In the proposed rules the EPA blatantly disregards science, economic feasibility, and citizens who will be most affected by its implementation. This shows that utilizing facts or any form of common sense when crafting regulations is not on their priority list. Finalizing the NSPS would have a tremendous negative impact on electricity prices and American families, at a time when they need economically and scientifically feasible solutions the most.