CRE calling for a "war by coal"


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule for new coal plants has been called a "war on coal" because it will require the installation of costly, unproven carbon capture and sequestration -- technology which many utilities can neither afford nor implement -- resulting in a ban on the construction of new coal plants, according to the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE). CRE is calling for a change from a "war on coal" to a "war by coal" in which the coal industry exercises its legal rights.

Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant in central Wyoming. Credit: Greg Goebel/Wikimedia Commons

According to CRE, a panel of EPA administrative law judges have just recently concluded that the installation of the CCS technology will be overly costly. EPA's proposed rule for new plants pre-dates this decision, thereby opening the door for the coal industry to act immediately to seek a remedy, according to CRE.

To this end, CRE has advised utilities, trade associations, law firms and lobbyists working on this matter that if EPA complied with the Data Quality Act (DQA) in a manner previously noted by the EPA Inspector General on a related issue -- that the issue regarding the commercial availability of the CCS technology would be reviewed by an impartial panel of experts not affiliated with EPA and with input from the public and stakeholders.

The CRE has issued a letter to the EPA, requesting that EPA conduct a peer review of CCS as required by the Data Quality Act. CRE says EPA has refused to implement the action thus far, putting it in violation of existing law and open to a corrective action by the court. Legal analyses conducted by CRE concludes that a judicial action which requests that the court direct EPA to comply can and should be taken prior to the issuance of a final rule for new coal fired plants.

The administration has proposed rules for new coal plants and is expected to release proposed rules for existing plants next week. CRE contends that the narrow window of time available prior to the issuance of a final rule for new plants should be used to seek and obtain judicial relief because "the resultant action is science based, economically sound and is grounded in well-established principles of administrative law."

The recommended action, says CRE, "will be further enhanced when the underlying rational is explained to the American public and in full recognition of the fact that the rule for existing plants cannot be issued in final form until which time EPA has first issued a final rule on new plants."

For more:
- see this letter

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