Waxman and Markey’s War on Coal


Here’s an idea: Punish our most abundant domestic energy source — which powers literally half of our lives and our economy — unless said power source employs a technology that at present is not commercially viable. Brilliant!

From Environmental NewsStand:

Inside EPA, April 13, 2009 — Performance standards for coal-fired power plants in draft climate change legislation offered by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) would impose a major barrier on the construction of new facilities without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, according to industry consultants and many environmentalists.

Some industry analysts are calling the proposal a “de facto ban” on new coal-fired facilities and predicting political battles over the provision will be hard fought.

The language, however, is causing concern among some environmentalists in part because no immediate carbon performance standards would be imposed on individual facilities given a final permit within the next six years, unless EPA determines that CCS technology is commercially available.

The performance standards for new facilities are just one part of the draft Waxman-Markey legislation that would establish a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. The draft includes a variety of concessions to industry, including language that would bar application of a range of Clean Air Act regulatory authorities concerning greenhouse gases. In addition, the draft includes incentives for industry to go beyond the minimum performance standards in the legislation — provisions that proponents say will help jump-start CCS commercialization.

The performance standards set forth timetables for imposing minimum emissions standards on coal-fired power plants permitted after Jan. 1, 2009, and would effectively require use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology at such plants once the limits are triggered.


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