Eye on the EPA: No New Power Plants
April 10, 2013
A Closer Look at Gina McCarthy
This week the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Gina McCarthy, nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and current EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.
EPA Policy: No New Power Plants
Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for New Plants
In April 2012 the EPA proposed New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas CO2 for new coal, oil and natural-gas fired power plants. In its current state, the regulation would effectively prohibit the construction of new coal-fired power plants by requiring the installation of technologies that are not commercially available.
The proposal for new power plants abandons decades of precedence under the Clean Air Act (CAA) by setting one standard for all fuel types used in electricity generation, the standard for natural gas plants. However, the standard for natural gas would be impossible for coal and oil to meet. New coal fired power plants would have to utilize carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that currently do not exist.
The United Mineworkers of America project the loss of up to 250,000 jobs in the coal production, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and generation sectors. As of February 2013 a total of 226 coal units and representing over 38,000MW of electric generating capacity in 30 states are expected to close, at least, in part due to EPA policies.
Today EPA noted the Agency is on a timeline to finalize the standards for new sources this spring and that work on a proposal for existing plants "will be on the table for next year."