Regulatory Reform

Report: EPA’s Carbon Emissions Rule Will Not Mandate Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Technology

A report from Inside EPA ($) suggests that the agency appears to have dropped the carbon capture and storage (CCS) requirement in the draft for the final Carbon Pollution Standards, as has been rumored for some time. Falling under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act, this regulation would apply to any new or modified coal fired power plant. EPA is expected to finalize this rule later this summer in conjunction with the proposed Clean Power Plan, the rule designed to regulate existing sources under Section 111(d).

Significantly, the Clean Air Act requires any “best system of emission reduction [be] adequately demonstrated.” Until now, EPA’s position has been that CCS meets this threshold despite the delays and cost overruns associated with the Kemper Project in eastern Mississippi and the Department of Energy yanking funding from the FutureGen 2.0 Project in Western Illinois.

Further, after the Carbon Pollution Standards were proposed in October 2014, a handful of Republicans sitting on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy bringing to her attention a provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that prohibits EPA from considering technology still receiving federal funding as being “adequately demonstrated.”

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has written about before, the Carbon Pollution Standards and Clean Power Plan share a “sequentially consequential relationship” under the Clean Air Act. This means that EPA can only finalize a rule under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act after it has finalized a rule under Section 111(b). In other words, if courts were to deem the CCS requirement (and thus the Carbon Pollution Standards) to be illegal, the Clean Power Plan would, in effect, become null and void.

In Depth: Regulatory Reform

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said that “the sum of good government” was one “which shall restrain men from injuring one another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry.” Sadly, governments – both federal and state – have ignored this axiom and…

+ Regulatory Reform In Depth