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WITH OUT MUCH PREP TIME, EPA GETS READY TO REGULATE CARBON 

Having spent less than a year working out the details, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is getting ready to impose widespread rules on carbon emissions across the entire economy beginning January 1.

The issue promises to be wildly contentious – particularly if the Republicans get control of either branch of Congress in November. The bipartisan opposition is already being led by several coal state Democrats, most prominently Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, one of the most reliable liberal voices in the Senate. Almost 90 percent of the electricity in the Midwest comes from coal and no new construction projects will be allowed to go ahead if reductions in emissions are not made. Whole state economies are at stake.

The confusion that is likely to prevail is evident in this morning’s Politico article, which refers constantly to the question of carbon emissions as “pollution controls.”  “The Obama administration has said it will limit its regulations to only the biggest sources at first, but it’s still unclear exactly what pollution controls will be required,” says the article. “[G]uidance [from the EPA] has been stalled indefinitely at the White House, where officials are sparring over the costs of installing pollution controls.”

But carbon emissions are not “pollution” in the classic sense of a “resource out of place.”  They are the unavoidable by-product of combustion. There is no way to “control” them except by cutting back on fossil fuels or replacing them with something else – like nuclear power.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carried an editorial charging that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is breaking the law by not allowing the states three years to come up with their implementation plans for enforcing the new EPA regulations, as specified by the Clean Air Act.

It’s going to get interesting after the first of the year.
 

Read more at Politico

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6 Responses to “WITH OUT MUCH PREP TIME, EPA GETS READY TO REGULATE CARBON ”

  1. Jim Hopf Says:

    I’m confused by the statement that “no new contruction projects will go forward, and “whole state economies are at stake”. Are they referring to new fossil power plant construction, or all forms of construction (what, due to emissions from concrete production??).

    Anyway, no new coal plants is a good thing, and is very much the goal. It is, in fact, not enough. We also need to steadily phase coal out, starting with the old, grossly-polluting grandfathered plants.

    And regardless, I find the “whole economies at stake” statement to be another example of the completely bogus, alarmist arguments the right has been making about the costs/impacts of CO2 reduction requirements. Most objective studies predict a cost of less than 1% GNP. Hardly noticeable.

    Given the abject failure of congress to do anything about climate change (an illustration of selfishness, short-term thinking, and unseemly levels of influence of the coal and oil industries), I wish the EPA godspeed.

    Seriously, they try to impose some sorely-needed requirements in response to a very serious environmental problem, and there is this enormous political pushback on behalf of some potentially affected industries and constituencies. I have to ask, where was the political resistance when NRC, in response to a total non-event (TMI), imposed massive requirements that literally doubled the cost of nuclear power?

  2. Jim Hopf Says:

    I’m confused by the statement that “no new contruction projects will go forward, and “whole state economies are at stake”. Are they referring to new fossil power plant construction, or all forms of construction (what, due to emissions from concrete production??).

    Anyway, no new coal plants is a good thing, and is very much the goal. It is, in fact, not enough. We also need to steadily phase coal out, starting with the old, grossly-polluting grandfathered plants.

    And regardless, I find the “whole economies at stake” statement to be another example of the completely bogus, alarmist arguments the right has been making about the costs/impacts of CO2 reduction requirements. Most objective studies predict a cost of less than 1% GNP. Hardly noticeable.

    Given the abject failure of congress to do anything about climate change (an illustration of selfishness, short-term thinking, and unseemly levels of influence of the coal and oil industries), I wish the EPA godspeed.

    Seriously, they try to impose some sorely-needed requirements in response to a very serious environmental problem, and there is this enormous political pushback on behalf of some potentially affected industries and constituencies. I have to ask, where was the political resistance when NRC, in response to a total non-event (TMI), imposed massive requirements that literally doubled the cost of nuclear power?

  3. Jim Hopf Says:

    I’m confused by the statement that “no new contruction projects will go forward, and “whole state economies are at stake”. Are they referring to new fossil power plant construction, or all forms of construction (what, due to emissions from concrete production??).

    Anyway, no new coal plants is a good thing, and is very much the goal. It is, in fact, not enough. We also need to steadily phase coal out, starting with the old, grossly-polluting grandfathered plants.

    And regardless, I find the “whole economies at stake” statement to be another example of the completely bogus, alarmist arguments the right has been making about the costs/impacts of CO2 reduction requirements. Most objective studies predict a cost of less than 1% GNP. Hardly noticeable.

    Given the abject failure of congress to do anything about climate change (an illustration of selfishness, short-term thinking, and unseemly levels of influence of the coal and oil industries), I wish the EPA godspeed.

    Seriously, they try to impose some sorely-needed requirements in response to a very serious environmental problem, and there is this enormous political pushback on behalf of some potentially affected industries and constituencies. I have to ask, where was the political resistance when NRC, in response to a total non-event (TMI), imposed massive requirements that literally doubled the cost of nuclear power?

  4. Arletha Semke Says:

    The government has been trying to keep housing prices artificially inflated.

  5. Arletha Semke Says:

    The government has been trying to keep housing prices artificially inflated.

  6. Arletha Semke Says:

    The government has been trying to keep housing prices artificially inflated.