Skip to main content

Coal power plant
EPA power plant rule could stop more of these from being built.
Faced with more than two million public comments to review and continuing objections from industry, the Environmental Protection Agency missed its April deadline for completing its proposed rule restricting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions for yet-to-be-built power plants.

But Monday, less than a week after President Obama made his first-ever speech devoted entirely to climate change, the EPA passed along the rule. It will now be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies before it is returned to the EPA for tweaking. The deadline for that is Sept. 20.

The hold-up in April added nearly three months to what had already been years of delay since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the agency could curb carbon emissions as pollution under the Clean Air Act. In fact, the EPA is not merely authorized to regulate pollution under the act, it is required to do so.

The new-plant rule was first unveiled after long delays in March 2012. It immediately collided with strong objections from politicians and the coal industry. Its proposed limit of 1,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per megawatt hour of generated electricity would be no problem for new power plants fueled by natural gas, but coal plants using the newest commercially available technology would be hard-pressed to keep emissions below the limit. (Although it varies widely from region to region, the average U.S. home nationwide consumes about 11 megawatt-hours of electricity each year.)

Opposition to the proposed rule at the time was ferocious:

“This E.P.A. is fully engaging in a war on coal, even though this country will continue to rely on coal as an affordable, stable and abundant energy source for decades to come,” said Senator Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat and former governor. “This approach relies totally on cheap natural gas, and we’ve seen that bubble burst before.”
Manchin repeated that accusation last week after Obama's climate speech. He is, of course, not the only foe of the rule. Even though nobody expects the new-plant rule to as tough as when it was first announced 15 months ago, lawsuits can be expected. The originally proposed rule included a provision allowing new power plants to generate 30 percent greater emissions in the early days of operation as long as they could meet the restrictions over a period of 30 years.

The revised rule will remain sealed until the inter-agency review is completed.

The president also called in his speech for completion of an even more contentious rule by the EPA, limits on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Those currently produce 40 percent of the nations carbon emissions. A draft of that rule is supposed to be ready by next June.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  In one sense we are so frickin' (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, ColoTim, citisven, elwior, tekno2600, Creosote

    lucky that the tbaggers in the house are so incompetent. They are bad now, but if they had the brains they think they do they would blow themselves and us up!

    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by glitterscale on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:20:19 PM PDT

  •  Hey Manchin...this is a good thing. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, elwior, Magnifico
  •  Going to have to see them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, elwior

    before I know how much to cheer.

  •  On one side of the mouth the (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Simplify, elwior, salmo, Kombema, Creosote

    EPA is going to provide laws that might do a better job with emissions,

    BUT at the same time the super, hush-hush it's none of your business business is going on with the TPP, the "free trade" agreement with South America.

    My favorite part is how participants can ignore the sovereignty--yep, the LAWS--of their local country.  

    I guess Elizabeth Warren and Grayson have already said if it's secret 'cause people aren't going to like it, then why are we doing it.

    Most of all, WHY IS THIS SECRET?

    Can we please see a menu around here!

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:28:24 PM PDT

    •  Friends, please read the link to bradblog (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      Few of us know about this travesty, yet we will need a great roar from the citizenry to stop the TPP, so please educate yourselves and then speak up to help save our sovereignty from those who would grant giant transnational corporations powers greater than those of our national government in ways which would allow them to enrich themselves at our expense.

      Carbon di-oxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is a "Climate Cluster Chaos" of the worst order if there ever was one. (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

      by Zinman on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:13:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  that would be a good war (7+ / 0-)

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:31:25 PM PDT

  •  Good news for the planet! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven, elwior, Sonnet

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:42:07 PM PDT

  •  See President Obama's GHG Directive to U.S. EPA (8+ / 0-)

    Read it here:

    [in the federal register today]

    PDF version:

  •  I want to know in what year allowable GHG (0+ / 0-)

    emissions from power plants go to zero. That's the only important milestone.

    •  why do you say that? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trumpeter, tekno2600

      getting emission reductions is crucially important and emission reductions short of 100% elimination of emissions are undeniably beneficial and justified.

      •  We'll take whatever we can get. (3+ / 0-)

        But it's also true that if we want to hold the temp rise to 2 deg C we need a cut of around 30% yesterday.

      •  Every ppm of additional CO2 will last for millenia (4+ / 0-)

        There is no such thing as an acceptable level of GHG emissions. We have a practical rate of reduction, but it should be as fast as we can transition. We have far to much ultimate temperature rise already built in at 400ppm. We are comparing the fate of the biosphere to our comfort and our economics. This is a really bad comparison. We need targets now and they need to be really aggressive. We are in a planetary crisis.

        Our ultimate global outcome is a function of how much CO2 we released up to the point that we achieve sustainability. Right now we haven't even defined sustainability as a goal. The industrialized word is adding CO2 at an increased rate, now up to almost 2 ppm per year. We don't even have a goal to bring the increase of the rate to zero. We are really flying blind with half vast measures. We are talking about "clean coal" and natural gas for new power plants and slowly phasing out older coal plants. This is all while developing countries are building fossil fuel powered plants at a furious rate.

        We can't get the goals right and we can't fashion a strategy that is up to the challenge.  If the work necessary is on a scale of 0 to 100, Obama is suggesting a path that may be between 0 and 3, depending on how serious he is at decommission fossil fuel plants and developing alternative sustainable energy sources.

        I'm glad to see some movement, but it isn't even close to a recognition of the scale of the problem.

        •  Dems less bad than GOP (AGAIN). (3+ / 0-)

          As on issue after issue, the Democrats move us towards the goal far too slowly and incompletely; while the GOP would move us farther away, quickly.

          Public apathy and gutless leadership reinforce each other in a vicious cycle.

          Don't get me wrong; I'll vote Democratic (not 3d party) in every general election, and I'll damn sure turn out to vote. But what we really need is for the public to wake up and vote progressive in the Dem primaries.

          They USA will become more progressive. But there will be a lot of damage first, and the climate damage will probably be fearsome.

          We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other alternatives.

          --Winston Churchill

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:31:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  When he approves Keystone XL you might change (0+ / 0-)

          your mind about the positive assessment of the ledger. He giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other.

          "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by Kombema on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:24:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  January 17, 2113... (0+ / 0-)

      Germany plans to have 50% of it's total energy from renewables by 2050 (I doubt it, but that's the goal). Most other nations are far behind that goal. If it takes 40 years for Germany to get to 50%, don't expect anything close to zero carbon energy in less than 100 years for most of the rest of the world. Anyone who thinks this will happen faster doesn't understand (1) the size and scope of the energy sector; (2) political and economic reality vs. fantasy.

      In the meantime, all the dire predictions about extinction of all life on Earth will come and go. Yes. There will be devastating effects from global warming, and we will not stop most of's too late. But it won't be an apocalypse either. We can and will deal with the consequences of our actions, like it or not, and perhaps use this as a catalyst to make better choices in the future. But, we're on no kind of trajectory as a nation or as a planet to have less than 2 C warming. Ironically, it may only be the disasters that truly force people to see (too late) that the global warming deniers are full of crap.

      Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

      by tekno2600 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:39:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So far, all the projections on cost and uptake (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, cocinero, ban nock

        of renewable energy have been far too conservative. The science and technology have always moved much faster than previously thought possible by people who have no idea of the history of science and technology. (I used to be in high tech market analysis. Moore's Law, predicting doubling of capacity or halving of prices every 18 months, was our basic tool for anything to do with semiconductors, and as it turned out, a number of other highly scalable technologies.)

        We have grid parity for rooftop solar, compared with retail electricity, in much of the country today. You can lease a system with little or no upfront cost. We are just reaching grid parity with wholesale prices, and large corporations such as Walmart have just committed to going solar and becoming net producers of electricity. Grid parity with baseline power generation, the lowest of the market price targets, is no more than a few years off in most of the US, and according to experts, half of the world.

        It has become increasingly difficult to get construction funding and permits for fossil-carbon power plants. The World Bank is close to stopping providing such funding. This trend is accelerating. Any EPA limits or costs imposed on carbon will accelerate it further.

        In order to get rid of existing plants, we have to get the cost of renewables below the marginal cost of coal. Since wind and solar have no fuel costs, and equipment costs per unit of energy are falling rapidly, this is only a matter of time.

        At some point, fossil carbon will lose enough of its political clout so that we can get rid of subsidies and impose realistic costs on it. The end will come not long after that.

        Carbon capture as a component of "clean coal" is laughable. Carbon capture and sequestration after we are done building coal plants is a question of science, technology, and the environment. As noted above, the science and technology for something that is physically possible are very likely to move faster than anybody presently imagines.

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 10:33:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Moore's law is not a good example, since it (0+ / 0-)

          has noticeable slowed in recent years.

          Also, despite my support for renewables and grid modernization, progress in these areas has actually not been faster than expected. It has been slower. Cost have not always come down. In fact, wind turbine costs are up. The cost of solar panels was coming down, but the total balance of system costs are up.

          But, contrary to what you and google say about making the cost of renewables lower than coal, it's unnecessary and it will not happen any time soon. We need to stop subsidizing coal and making it's cost artificially low. Then, in addition to not giving the industry massive handouts, we need to take more money from them in taxes and fees for the full damage it does to air, rivers, ground water, and many other aspects of the environment. If we do that, renewables, efficiency, and grid modernization will provide a much bigger piece of the power system and we will have a cleaner and green, though not necessarily cheaper, energy future.

          Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

          by tekno2600 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 01:43:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  50% of energy from renewables; but 80% ... (0+ / 0-)

        ...reduction of carbon emissions planned for 2050.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:17:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How can they do that? (0+ / 0-)

          Increased efficiency?
          Kicking people out of their cars?
          Herding people into "energy ghettos"?

          If they will be reducing carbon emissions by 80% but only derive 50% of their energy from renewables, they will have to significantly reduce consumption.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 09:46:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Efficiency can make a huge difference... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            radical simplicity

            ...upgraded power grid can reduce leakage on high-voltage lines (a bigger factor than one might think). The plan is to double energy productivity by 2050. Some of that has already been done. From 1990 to the end of 2011, coal-fired generation fell 14 percent, nuclear generation fell 30 percent, and renewable grew by 614 percent. For the same period, primary energy use fell 11 percent, emissions fell 25.5 percent and the GDP rose 37 percent.

            This has not been without hiccups. But the plan is still on target.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:09:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And it occurs to me that coal is a two-fer with (0+ / 0-)

              twice the carbon density of other fossil fuels.

              Maybe there is enough room to do it, even cutting back on nuclear.  

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:24:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  But, the POINT was, when will zero GHG's be (0+ / 0-)

              the allowable limit from power plants. That's what the previous commenter said and what I responded to. So, I stand by my estimate of 2113.

              I work in this field and am all in favor of efficiency improvements at all levels. But, I also doubt Germany will reach the goals they set for 2050, and other countries, like the US, are much, much further behind. Even if German did somehow mange to decrease emissions by 80%, getting to 0% become exponentially harder at that point, when all the easy gains have been wrung out of the utility system. But, the good news is, we don't have to get to 0%, at least not in the near future.

              Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

              by tekno2600 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 01:33:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  In the State of Georgia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:08:34 PM PDT

  •  I'd like to see reductions in the carbon produced (0+ / 0-)

    by the goods we import. Industry is a huge producer of carbon, we've offshored our footprint at the same time as our jobs.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:25:06 PM PDT

    •  Industry is only 20% of US emissions (0+ / 0-)

      Electricity and transport together is 61%.
      We need to reduce those emissions first IMHO.

      •  worldwide it's more than half. Like I said, we've (0+ / 0-)

        offshored our CO2 footprint. All that "stuff" isn't made using fairy dust, it's from coal, in China, and Bangladesh, and Vietnam, and Thailand, and who knows where else. Our skies are clean, people who live in the towns our stuff come from are dying of lung disease.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:09:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  link (0+ / 0-)

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 06:10:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That graph omits electric power generation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock

          which is important because public electricity generation is
          generally produced in central power plants which is rolled
          into the residential, commercial and industry categories.
          Therefore if the problem of CO2 production at central power plants is addressed either by replacement of coal  with gas turbines or wind/solar farms that will accomplish
          the same reductions. In the US 38% of emissions is electric power which is the same as in theenergycollective's  world energy chart. Also the 28% for
          transport is similar.

  •  The CEO of my rural electric co-op (0+ / 0-)

    wrote a LTTE that was published in the local paper (6/28). He said electricity rates are going to go up, and it's all Obama's fault.

    While the president’s scheme will impose a massive new energy tax upon all consumers, we at Raccoon Valley Electric Coop­erative (RVEC) are especially concerned about this proposal’s effect on middle-class and low-income families. The president’s proposal will hit middle-class families in Iowa awfully hard.

    The president’s proposal will make electric power more expensive, causing families and businesses to sacrifice on top of all the other difficulties in our national economy. Without question, electric bills will get bigger for the Americans who can least afford to pay them.

    •  Idiot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      How does someone write that in Iowa which is benefiting tremendously from wind power jobs? Wind is already providing cheaper power than new coal plants. Ask him how much wind power has made rates go up in Iowa. You should write back and make those points in a response letter.

      I just looked at the coop newsletter. The problem is that they made a stupid decision to invest almost entirely in coal and now their members are going to pay for it. Rates will go up and up until they diversify their power supply with more wind and solar. The coop board better figure out fast that what's best for the coal industry isn't what's best for their members anymore.
      Most coop boards drink the coal industry kool aid and it's a major problem when they start lobbying their Congressmen. They need to feel a pushback from their members.
      Also, it doesn't look like the coop had a problem taking stimulus funds for efficiency rebates and other programs. Is he going to give that money back since he hates Obama so much? Hypocrite.

  •  Good. About time to move forward. (0+ / 0-)

    Totally support the Prez on this, it's pointless to wait for Congress.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:42:09 PM PDT

  •  CO2 is only part of the story (0+ / 0-)

    Any new rules ought to take into account the GHG emissions involved in production of energy sources, not just the GHG emissions in using them. In many cases, natural gas, although it burns more cleanly than coal, has a bigger negative effect on climate change because of the methane released in producing it. Not to mention the other negative environmental effects. If we venture down an energy path that is centered on burning natural gas, we could be doing little more than creating a sense of accomplishment re: global warming while actually doing little or nothing to improve the situation. Or even making it worse.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site