Gina McCarthy, the former “green quarterback” for Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts, is now assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and is pushing the costly
TRAIN Act Utility MACT. Fuel Fix reports:
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Environmental Protection Agency will move forward with long-overdue air rules that have come under attack from Republicans and utilities, the agency’s top air quality official said Monday.
Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said the Obama administration has faced “a backlog of rulemakings” that weren’t implemented on time or were overturned by the courts.
The agency recently finalized its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to replace a George W. Bush-era rule that a federal court struck down in 2008. And the Utility MACT rule for reducing toxic emissions from power plants has been in the works for 20 years, she said.
“We are in the final stretches of rules that are significantly important for public health. We must continue, and we will,” McCarthy said at the University of North Dakota’s annual air quality conference in Arlington.
Her comments come as Republicans in Congress have passed legislation that would delay those rules by several years each and force the agency to weaken them.
Texas also has asked a federal court to block the cross-state rule, which requires power plants in the Lone Star State and 26 others to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are soot- and smog-forming pollutants the EPA says can harm health in downwind states. McCarthy said the new rule corrects the shortcomings with the Bush-era rule. The agency has repeatedly said the cross-state rule won’t cause the power plant closures some critics, including several Texans, are predicting.
The agency recently proposed technical changes to the cross-state rule. The revisions reduce Texas’ required emissions reductions and remove a cap on emissions trading between states for the first two years of the rule.
But Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott recently vowed to press forward with a lawsuit challenging the rules, saying the changes were “minor,” and 31 of the state’s 32 U.S. House members said last week they were concerned the revised rule could still cause electricity blackouts in the state.
The rest here.
Alexandria, Va. – As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on the TRAIN Act, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, today, released a comprehensive analysis conducted by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) showing that several of EPA’s new and proposed regulations would lead to 183,000 lost jobs per year and significant increases in the price of electricity and natural gas.
“America’s coal-fueled electric industry has invested nearly $100 billion, so far, to achieve impressive reductions in air pollution. Now is the wrong time for EPA to blindly push ahead without even pausing long enough to understand how all of these rules could hurt American jobs and consumers,” said Steve Miller, president and CEO of ACCCE.
The analysis, done on behalf of ACCCE by NERA, relies on state-of-the-art modeling tools, as well as government data for almost all of its assumptions. NERA’s analysis projects that EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology, coal combustion residuals, and cooling water intake requirements for power plants would, over the 2012-2020 period:
• Cost the power industry $21 billion per year; • Cause an average loss of 183,000 jobs per year; • Increase electricity costs by double digits in many regions of the U.S.; • Cost consumers over $50 billion more for natural gas; and • Reduce the disposable income of the average American family by $270 a year.
“EPA is moving much too quickly to adopt several of the most expensive regulations ever written for coal-fueled power plants without understanding or explaining all of the harm they will do to our struggling economy,” said Miller. “EPA has failed to analyze the full impact of its own rules. The TRAIN Act is a common-sense bill that requires EPA to slow down and explain the full impacts of all these regulations on jobs and energy costs.” Miller also added, “We expect that the TRAIN Act will be amended by the House of Representatives to include more protections for consumers and jobs, and ACCCE will support reasonable amendments to the legislation.”
Thanks to investments made in clean coal technology, emissions of major air pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by 84 percent per kilowatt-hour of electricity.
The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts of the Nation Act of 2011, or the TRAIN Act, would set up a government-wide committee to analyze the cumulative impacts – such as energy price increases and job losses – of a host of major new EPA regulations. In addition, the bill would delay two of the most expensive rules to give power plants enough time to comply with new rules, as well as providing guidance to EPA in writing the final version of the two rules.