Category Archives for Regulation
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Issue 2, 2015 of American Coal Magazine (pg. 30-32)
Too much, Too fast
By Ken Ditzel and Rob Fisher, FTI Consulting
On November 25, 2014, EPA proposed to strengthen the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for primary and secondary ground-level ozone standards to 65 to 70 ppb from the current standard of 75 ppb set in 2008. The 2008 standard is just now at the beginning stages of implementation planning and far from compliance. Many liken EPA’s proposed actions to “moving the goalposts” before the compliance mechanisms for meeting the 2008 standard are implemented and its health benefits and economic costs are fully understood. Numerous scientists and economists consider the latest proposal to be too much, too fast, or, in other words, it is simply premature.
Classic lines from Luke Popovich’s “Dateline Washington – EPA Down on the MAT” piece in the July 2015 issue of Coal Age.
“Lawmakers did not anticipate … that the nation’s energy grid would one day be transformed by doctrinaire fanatics running an environmental agency that is indifferent to cost, to the law, to congress and to public opinion. That sounds like the old Soviet Politburo, not the U.S. government. …
The words of Justice Scalia in the majority opinion should be inscribed over the portals of the EPA’s headquarters: ‘It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health benefits.’”
Click here to read the full American Coal Council statement on the EPA’s Final Clean Power Plan Regulation
The final Clean Power Plan continues EPA’s execution of President Obama’s legacy climate change agenda. It is a risky, expensive, and misguided regulatory scheme, devoid of any real climate impact. The increased emphasis on inefficient, intermittent renewables for electricity generation in the final plan only intensifies concerns about grid reliability. The Energy Information Administration projected closure of 90 gigawatts of coal capacity under EPA’s proposed plan. That’s nearly one third of the existing coal fleet, and that number is likely to rise under the final rule. With such drastic reductions, coal plants will be far less available to back up renewables or to buffer spiking natural gas prices. …
The rumors circulating around the web appear to indicate that the EPA will release the final version of its Clean Power Plan by August 3rd, 2015.
Further information leaked by the New York Times and EnergyWire indicates the updated plan will allow an additional two years for states to design compliance plans for the CPP, meaning they will now be due in 2018.
Editor’s note: In this article, Ron Arnold takes a close look a the many issues associated with the EPA’s continued overreach in the area of regulation, their close working relationship with extreme environmental groups, and their drastic proposed changes to the Waters of the US rule. This article is reprinted with the permission of the author.
Environmental Protection Agency flooded with lawsuits over controversial water rule
The Supreme Court dealt the EPA a substantial setback in their Monday, June 29 ruling that struck down the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS). The 5-4 decision ruled that the EPA misinterpreted the Clean Air Act in that they did not consider the costs of the emissions reductions mandated by the rule. This decision overturned an April 2014 District Court ruling that found the EPA had acted within its legal mandate. SCOTUS remanded the the regulation back to the D.C. Circuit Court, which must now reconsider the case.
Readers can click here to download the full text of the decision.
The National Journal is reporting that Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana has sent a letter to the White House openly rejecting the EPA’s “ill-conceived and poorly constructed” Clean Power Plan. Without “demonstrable” and “significant” improvements in the proposed regulation, Pence says his state “will not comply” with the rule.
Gov. Pence also goes on to note that Indiana will use any means available to block the rule’s implementation and criticizes the rule as damaging to Indiana’s economy. Pence notes that the CPP will impact system reliability, force the state to fundamentally restructure its generation system, and that it oversteps the agency’s legal and Constitutional boundaries.
A group of doctors in Congress have recently sent a letter to the EPA questioning whether the agency’s plan to mandate the reduction of the current ozone standard from 75 ppb to between 65 and 70 ppb will be worth the expected expense. In the letter, the Congressional Reps noted weaknesses in the EPA’s assumptions, arguments, and research methodologies. For example,
- There is no correlation between decreasing ozone levels and asthma rates.
[A]ccording to EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma prevalence has increased by 15 percent since 2001, while ozone concentrations have decreased by 18 percent during the same time period.
Thanks to America’s Power for putting together this video showing the differences in spending priorities between America’s elected officials and average Americans.
This kind of situation always reminds me of the “Jelly Donut” scene in the movie Full Metal Jacket. The scene shows how a lack of thought and self-control (one recruit stealing a jelly donut from the mess hall) leads to damaging outcomes for an entire platoon of marine recruits. In the same way, short-sighted and destructive energy policies coming from a small group of self-focused ideologues in DC and various state capitals are having profound negative effects on American taxpayers and electricity users (read: the rest of the country).