June 1, 2011
The Tulsa World reports today that AG Scott Pruitt sued the EPA saying that the agency improperly rejected Oklahoma’s plan to reduce emissions from three of the state’s coal-fired plants.
But a bigger fight is brewing.
Did we really think that Cap and Trade was dead? Anyone following the course of policy making closely for the last several years has to have noticed that no matter what the states do, no matter what policies are blocked or killed or in the legislative process, no matter what, by hook or crook the fed gov will have it’s way. Here is just one more example.
The Attorney General says that “It is estimated the federal implementation plan the EPA is proposing for the state of Oklahoma could potentially cost the state $2 billion to $2.5 billion where we will be required to place scrubbers on every coal-fired plant in the state of Oklahoma,” Pruitt said. “If that occurs, our utility rates it is projected in the state of Oklahoma will go up 13 to 20 percent in a three-year period.”
The EPA wants these plants to switch to natural gas or install scrubbers in order to meet the Federal Clean Air Act requirements of a 95% reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions to reduce haze.
McAfee & Taft, an Oklahoma-based law firm has written a fairly short, easy to understand article on the issue.
McAfee & Taft notes that in February the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) submitted a revised state implementation plan (SIP) provisions that would have allowed the plants to convert to natural gas so as to prevent sulfur dioxide emissions and say that this portion of Oklahoma’s proposal was rejected by the EPA in March when the agency decided to substitute its own federal implementation plan that imposes limits on sulfur dioxide emissions from six Oklahoma sources.
The EPA’s Regional Haze Rule was issued in 1999 and it’s purpose is to improve visibility of the air over national parks. It is not a health rule per se.
On May 23, 2011 The Sierra Club submitted their recommendations to the EPA on exactly how the state should go about meeting the Federal Implementation Plan. The Sierra Clubs recommendations closely mirror the demands of the EPA.
The Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians (hereinafter “Sierra Club”) respectfully submit the following comments on the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA” or “USEPA”) regional haze Federal Implementation Plan (“FIP”) for the State of Oklahoma.
Sierra Club prepared these comments with technical expertise from Camille Sears, Paul Chernick of Resource Insight Inc. and John Plunkett of Green Energy Economics.
More Regulations ahead
McAfee & Taft writes;
However, while EPA’s rejection of Oklahoma’s regional haze SIP for SO2 has been quite controversial, EPA’s bases for rejecting this portion of the proposed SIP gets a bit lost in the upcoming rules that will significantly impact the utility industry.
Soon, in addition to EPA’s upcoming July 2, 2011, “Phase II” greenhouse gas permitting rules for major stationary sources, EPA will be implementing its “Clean Air Transport Rule” (replacing the remanded Clean Air Interstate Rule or CAIR), “Utility Boiler MACT” (replacing the previously vacated Clean Air Mercury Rule or CAMR), new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for SO2, as well as nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM2.5), and ozone, and also new water and waste rules impacting cooling water intake structures (CWA 216(b)) and coal ash disposal, respectively.
The Clean Air Act/Cap and trade and Global warming
THE U.S. CLEAN Air Act (CAA) was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1963 and strengthened with amendments passed in 1970, 1977, and 1990.
A larger revision occurred with the CAA amendments of 1990. Most significantly, a new market-based cap-and-trade system was implemented as an approach for meeting air quality goals.read more
2007-In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the gases that cause global warming are pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The court also found that the U.S. government has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases.
Update (12/7/2009) – Setting the stage for U.S. action on climate change, EPA formally determined today that global warming pollution imperils human health, as required by the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in 2007
Monday, March 21, 2011
(CNSNews.com) – Regulation of greenhouse gasses by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could reverse the very modest economic recovery and even send it back into a recession, a report from the National Center for Public Policy Research finds.
“These regulations,” author Dana Joel Gattuso wrote, “will have a more severe impact on energy costs, U.S. jobs, household income, and economic growth than cap-and-trade legislation would have had. Furthermore, the regulations could reverse the economy’s direction toward recovery and push us back into an economic slump.
EPA has considered regulating the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act, which the Supreme Court gave the agency the power to regulate greenhouse gasses in the name of fighting air pollution.
EPA has not yet enacted the types of greenhouse gas regulations Gattuso’s paper warns of, but the agency has announced that it plans to do so in the near future.
. . .The report also analyzes Republican and Democratic legislation that would attempt to stop the EPA from issuing GHG regulations during a period of economic hardship and a fragile recovery.
The first bill Gattuso reviews is the joint effort from Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that would bar the EPA from using its newfound authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate GHGs.
“Many members of Congress — Democrats as well as Republicans — are supporting legislation to prevent Obama from expanding the Clean Air Act and imposing more economic costs on Americans,” Gattuso reported.
The Inhofe-Upton bill would completely prevent the EPA from ever using its Clean Air Act authority to regulate greenhouse gasses.
. . .Gattuso concluded that the Inhofe-Upton effort was the only legislation that would successfully prevent the EPA from enacting economically damaging regulations.
“The Energy Tax Prevention Act would rein in the EPA, put Congress back in control, and steer our economy toward a complete and healthy recovery — not for two years but permanently.”
H.R.910 – Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011
To amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes.
The Energy Tax Prevention Act passed the House on April 7, 2011 but none of the measures that would have limited the EPA’s power made it past the Senate.
April 13, 2011
Last week the Senate voted on a number of proposals to limiting EPA’s authority, but none passed. The closest any measure came to passing was Sen. Inhofe and Sen. McConnell’s amendment to nullify EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations altogether. That amendment failed on a 50 to 50 vote. But there were a number of other amendments considered which limited EPA’s regulatory authority in some way. All told, 64 senators voted against the administration’s policies including 17 Democrats who broke with their party for one vote or another.
The stated goal of the Obama administration and various cabinet members is to increase the price of energy. EPA’s regulations are a tool the administration is using. But gasoline prices are already too high for many Americans and some people are already being forced to cut back on their transportation use.