Canaries in the clean-coal mine

From: The Washington Times/Commentary

By Tim Phillips

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has trouble following the law. Not only is the Supreme Court mulling whether the agency overstepped its regulatory authority regarding greenhouse-gas emissions, but last month the EPA released regulations regarding Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) — a pleasant-sounding policy that oversteps the EPA’s legal authority and bilks Americans once in their taxes and again in their utility bills.

This regulation is the fulfillment of President Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

On a technical level, this technology is supposed to allow coal-fired power plants to trap the carbon dioxide they produce and then store it, usually underground. The regulation’s backers think that it’s a major step forward for lowering greenhouse-gas emissions.

At least, that’s the dream. No one has successfully put CCS into practice. In its regulatory filings, the EPA singled out four utility projects as proof that carbon capture and storage is economically and technologically viable.

None of the four projects are currently operational, though.

The first project is Mississippi’s Kemper County Energy Facility, which is not yet complete. It will provide “partial CCS” when finished. (The final regulation mandates full compliance for new plants.)

The plant is also projected to cost $4.3 billion — nearly $2 billion more than its initial price tag.

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