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Vitter: EPA Basing New Carbon Rule on Impracticable Technology
EPA steps beyond legal scope with latest carbon emissions regulation for new power plants
January 8, 2014

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding the proposed rule from September 2013 to regulate carbon emissions from new power plants, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally published in the Federal Register today.

"In typical EPA fashion, they're putting the cart before the horse to advance their environmental policy agenda," said Vitter. "They're moving forward with a controversial rule to regulate carbon based on technology that isn't commercially available. Not only is this wrongheaded, it's beyond the scope of their legal authority."

EPA's proposed greenhouse gas new source performance standards (NSPS) would require all new coal fired power plants to install carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes EPA to set emissions standards that would require the use of technologies that have been "adequately demonstrated." CCS has yet to be demonstrated on a commercial scale and faces a number of additional barriers. In 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that commercial deployment of CCS was possible in 10 to 15 years, contingent upon overcoming economic, technical, and legal challenges that have yet to be met.

EPA relied upon three Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) funded projects to justify CCS technology as being "adequately demonstrated." However, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 prohibits technology used at projects receiving CCPI funding to be considered "adequately demonstrated" for the purposes of Section 111 of the CAA, thus exposing the legal overreach of the proposed rule.

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