Pres. Obama has ordered new EPA Administrator McCarthy to move forward with long-awaited greenhouse gas air pollution emission controls on American coal-fired power plants. The draft rules require that all new coal plants built in the U.S. limit their emissions to less than 1,100 pounds of carbon pollution per megawatt-hour -- half the carbon pollution now produced by a typical coal-powered plant. These rules are an update of EPA drafts of 2012. That rule required new coal and gas plants to maintain emissions levels of 1,000 pounds of carbon pollution per megawatt-hour.
Following massive lobbying from electric power companies and coal producers, and considering 2.5 million public comments, Obama EPA's new draft rules would allow coal plants to emit 10 percent more carbon emissions. Despite these looser carbon limits, coal-fired power plants will still have to reduce emissions with expensive "carbon capture and sequestration" technology.
Eventually, electric power companies will be forced to less-polluting forms of electricity such as natural gas, which emits about half the carbon pollution of coal. The new climate-carbon rules coincide with a market shift from coal to natural gas. Thanks to the recent boom from the “fracked” production of cheap natural gas, electric utilities have stopped investing in new coal plants, and are already investing in building new natural-gas plants. (National Review, Sept. 20, 2013)
Ironically, “The EPA does not anticipate that this proposed rule will result in notable CO2 emission change,” the agency writes in its proposed cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. (Daily Caller, Sept. 25, 2013)
The economic impacts of these new EPA regulations are: 1) all existing coal-fired power plants would be phased out through the year 2020, risking national power shortages; 2) no single, or combination of, so-called green renewable energy alternatives can replace the loss of coal-fired plant electric power; 3) under the new EPA regs no conventional coal-fired power plant would be feasible to operate after 2012; and 4) as many as 887,000 coal-related jobs would be lost each year in the U.S. according to a National Economic Research Associates report of Oct. 26, 2012.
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