Whispers that the EPA is taking a closer look at their 2012 proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) from new power plants are increasing in volume. Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that the EPA was “weighing changes” to the proposed rule “in a preemptive move to protect against possible court challenges.” The NAM has been saying since this rule was first offered that it was bad policy, standing on shaky legal ground.
At issue is the requirement that all new base-load power plants (plants that run continuously to provide a constant source of electricity) achieve the same emission limits, irrespective of plant or fuel type. In practice, the rule would function as national energy policy by handpicking which fuels and technologies are used to power our country, while barring others. This is far beyond the scope of what is delegated to EPA through any existing authority and will hurt jobs.
The NAM strongly believes that an “all of the above” strategy is necessary to keep energy affordable and the U.S. competitive in the global economy. We also believe this strategy will result in increased efficiencies and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Revolutionary advancements are being made in power plant efficiency for all types of fuels and technologies. Supercritical coal-fired power plants, natural gas combined-cycle plants and improvements in renewable technologies have all led to greater efficiency of the power generation system and helped lower emissions. Manufacturers need a regulatory environment that supports the continued development of all of these fuels and technologies and does not siphon their contribution to our sustainable energy future by banning them at the permitting stage.
Greg Bertelsen is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.