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View Diary: President Obama and EPA To Limit Power Plant CO2 Emissions (122 comments)

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  •  Grandfathered in since the 1970 Clean Air Act (5+ / 0-)

    so that, in effect, means since forever.

    See this excerpt by the Sierra Club's Carl Pope in a Grist article in 2009 about the "compromise" to the 1970 Act that got us where we are today. He notes that the author of the Act, Senator Ed Muskie of Maine was told by the "business community" that regulating existing plants wasn't necessary, since they would all soon be replaced by "new" plants, which were covered by the law. But guess what?

    Unfortunately, Muskie misjudged. Companies found ingenious ways to continually upgrade and modernize facilities, turning them into virtual vampires: polluters that cannot be killed. As I write, there are 145 operating coal-fired power plants built before 1950; two-thirds of the coal fleet was constructed before Muskie passed the Clean Air Act.

    The state-based process for meeting air quality standards also floundered. When states refused to clean up existing polluters and couldn’t meet the standards, Congress just gave them more time to do the job. Today, 40 years later, the nation faces an enormous air pollution problem, almost all of which results from emissions from these “grandfathered” vampire power plants.

    Grist: The Clean Act Story---Back to the Beginning

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:33:08 AM PDT

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    •  I think you should be clear and exact (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell, Lawrence, 6412093

      about what you mean by 'grandfathering'   ....a term which does not apear in the Clean Air Act.

      Existing power plants can't evade permitting requirements for modifications and physical changes that increase hourly and annual emission rates.   Even existing coal-fired power  plants must comply with modification requirements under new source performance standards and under prevention of significant deterioration.

      EPA and the states have initiated numerous enforcement actions against coal plants for failure to comply with these requirements, so these sources can't be considered as 'grandfathered.'

      •  Yep, the Mercury emissions regulations passed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sixty Something

        by the Obama Admin. are one example of a requirement that old coal plants can't evade.

        (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled the first-ever standards to slash mercury emissions from coal-fired plants, a move aimed at protecting public health that critics say will kill jobs as plants shut down.

        Facing fierce opposition from industry groups and lawmakers from coal-intensive states, the Environmental Protection Agency said the benefits of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, will greatly outweigh the costs.


        Energy analysts have said the EPA's mercury rule, along with the cross state, cooling water and coal ash rules could shut up to 70,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation.

        The big energy lobby didn't like this much, of course, but 70 GW of coal-fired generation shutting down means that a hell of a lot of old coal power plants will be gone.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 01:35:22 PM PDT

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