The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants as early as Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the proposal. The move could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.
The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
Industry officials and environmentalists said in interviews that the rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls.
“This standard effectively bans new coal plants,” said Joseph Stanko, who heads government relations at the law firm Hunton and Williams and represents several utility companies. “So I don’t see how that is an ‘all of the above’ energy policy.”
Then again, Joe Biden warned us: “No coal plants here in America.”
Come to think of it, back in 2008, Barack Obama warned us under his plans, “electricity rates will necessary skyrocket…. Coal-powered plants, natural gas plants, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations, that will cost money, that they will pass that money on to consumers.”
So President Obama supports “all of the above” except building the Keystone Pipeline to Canada, drilling in the Gulf at the normal pace, drilling off the East, West, or Eastern Gulf Coasts, drilling in ANWR, building new oil refineries, and perhaps fracking.