Michael O. Callaghan, Secretary
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
regarding S. 556 “Clean Power Act of 2001"
Good morning, my name is Michael Callaghan and I am the Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.I appreciate this opportunity to appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to comment on Senate Bill 556, the Clean Power Act of 2001.As most of you know, our State is one of the top producers of coal in the nation.I can tell you that I spent a large part of my work time dealing with environmental issues related to mining coal; some of the recent developments and initiatives may require my renewed focus on environmental issues related to burning coal.
Among other provisions, the Bill calls for regulation of powerplants to achieve a 75% SO2 reduction (beyond Title IV); a 75% NOx reduction (1997 base); a 90% mercury reduction (1999 base) and a reduction of CO2 to 1990 emission levels.It may surprise some of you to learn that, with a few caveats, I am strongly supportive of the concept of multi-pollutant emission controls.Many of our environmental protection programs, including air quality, have developed in a somewhat parochial fashion, sometimes leading to a hodgepodge of complex regulations.Traditional command and control approaches often address only individual pollutants, in a facility specific manner.Furthermore, control requirements (or the lack thereof) can vary widely across jurisdictional boundaries within the same airshed.A national multi-pollutant strategy offers a superior environmental solution that could address many of issues relating to the existing and near-term air quality programs, such as visibility improvement (regional haze), 8-hour ozone standards and PM2.5 standards.
First, I must state our biggest problem with the present content of S. 556.That is the provision regarding CO2.We have severe reservations about the inclusion of a national emissions cap for carbon dioxide. Our senior Senator, Robert C. Byrd (in his support of the Climate Change Strategy and Technology Innovation Act of 2001, S. 1008), has stated the case much more eloquently then I possibly could.Furthermore, the entire Senate, in its adoption (by large majority) of Senate Resolution 98 (1997) acknowledged that a climate change treaty must include commitments from developing nations, especially heavy polluters.We recommend removing the CO2 cap provisions from S. 556 but we also acknowledge that global warming needs to be addressed in a meaningful way, beginning with the approach set forth in S. 1008.
Now, I would like to discuss the NOx, SO2 and mercury (Hg) reductions.Nearly always when regulations are proposed, there is an outcry from potentially affected industries telling us:
1) Why they can’t do it; and
2) How much it would cost (a whole lot) if they could.
Of course, most of us are already hearing feedback to that effect on these provisions.Past experience has indicated that these arguments are frequently overstated but that doesn’t mean they should be entirely discounted.I believe the primary issue is the level of the cap.Perhaps the stringency of the proposed caps is overly ambitious.Just as we are trying to effect a more holistic solution to the environmental aspect of the problem, we should concurrently embrace a broader view of the energy and economic impacts of potential strategies.That is where the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce may provide a more comprehensive view than U.S. EPA alone.We must be especially careful if the cap is contemplated at a technology-forcing level or could lead to comprehensive fuel switching.If appropriate, viable levels of caps are determined, then the next step is ensuring equity.There must be some mechanism to ensure that legitimate issues concerning allocations under the cap(s) are fairly resolved.For example, we still have outstanding issues with EPA on the growth assumed in the NOx SIP Call.We fail to understand how the assumption for zero (1996-2007) new power plants could be considered reasonable.
Ultimately, we would like to see a multi-pollutant strategy that simplifies some of the existing control programs, including New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and one that clarifies enforcement issues under those two programs.Such a strategy should also provide stability and certainty for affected sources by limiting liability (e.g. from Petitions under Clean Air Act, Section 126) for sources that demonstrate adequate compliance with the program provisions.
Thank you again for this opportunity to address the Committee.