Memo to the Republican Party: President Obama's administration is doing and is going to do precisely what he said he would do, with or without your constructive input...and today is another day worth marking on the calendar, for the administration's historic move to put tough requirements on new coal-fired power plants. New Plants will have to install new technology to capture carbon dioxide and bury it underground. No coal-fired plants have yet installed the new technology, but the EPA will move forward with details on the new requirements, and the government will assist with financial support in the purchase of the new technology.
Long overdue are such proposals, having been resisted around the world, and in the U.S., by corporations whose obsession with their bottom line has left them blind and tone deaf to the need to protect the environment. In the U.S. coal-fired power plants account for up to one third of all carbon dioxide emissions, so this proposal is no mere tinkering, no mere public relations gesture; it is another way by which the Obama legacy will include both higher fuel requirements for automobiles and lower toxic emissions from one of the more prominent players in environmental denigration.
And we all know that once the new technology is installed, and once the coal-fired plants no longer emit their clouds of toxins into the atmosphere, everyone, including the corporate executives will trumpet their new accomplishment and proceed to generate power, then as a model for the world, especially for China and India where pressure is still needed to make inroads into the toxic emissions from their coal plants.
Sitting right next door, one has to wonder how long it will be before the Canadian government, enmeshed with corporate resistance to environmental protections, will wake up to our need to take similar steps to reduce, if not eliminate, our coal-generated carbon footprints?
By Dina Cappiello, Huffington Post, September 19, 2013
The Obama administration will press ahead Friday with tough requirements for new coal-fired power plants, moving to impose for the first time strict limits on the pollution blamed for global warming.
The proposal would help reshape where Americans get electricity, away from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy. It's also a key step in President Barack Obama's global warming plans, because it would help end what he called "the limitless dumping of carbon pollution" from power plants.
Although the proposed rule won't immediately affect plants already operating, it eventually would force the government to limit emissions from the existing power plant fleet, which accounts for a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Obama has given the Environmental Protection Agency until next summer to propose those regulations.
The EPA provided The Associated Press with details of the proposal prior to the official announcement, which was expected Friday morning. The public will have a chance to comment on the rule before it becomes final.
Despite some tweaks, the rule packs the same punch as one announced last year, which was widely criticized by industry and Republicans as effectively banning any new coal projects in the U.S.
That's because to meet the standard, new coal-fired power plants would need to install expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide and bury it underground. No coal-fired power plant has done that yet, in large part because of the cost. And those plants that the EPA points to as potential models, such as a coal plant being built in Kemper County, Miss., by Southern Co., have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants and tax credits.
Coal, which is already struggling to compete with cheap natural gas, accounts for 40 percent of U.S. electricity, a share that was already shrinking. And natural gas would need no additional pollution controls to comply.
"For power producers and coal mining companies that reject these standards, they have no reason to complain, and every excuse to innovate," said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the author of a 2009 bill to limit global warming. The legislation, backed by the White House, passed the House, but died in the Senate.
A powerful Republican opponent of the EPA plan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said in an emailed statement that "the president is leading a war on coal."