Vacated CSAPR could open power plants to onerous haze rule requirements

Chief among the concerns for states, according to William Yeatman, assistant director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute, is cost. Yeatman said that while states have typically chosen combustion controls, which cost about $1 million per boiler, to satisfy its obligations under the BART requirement, the EPA often favors post-combustion controls, such as selective non-catalytic-reduction devices and selective catalytic reduction devices, which can cost anywhere from $10 million to $200 million per boiler.

"It is a huge discrepancy in cost," he said Aug. 23. Unlike the Regional Haze Rule, CSAPR afforded power plants much more flexibility because they could achieve reductions where they are most cost-effective and through a variety of measures, such as by reducing dispatch of less-controlled units, switching dispatch to more-controlled units or buying allowances from other plant operators.

Yeatman said the EPA has failed to give Western states the leeway they are afforded under the law to determine which pollution controls are necessary, as evidenced by the federal implementation plans that the EPA has set for as many as seven states. He said such an "aggressive" approach could foreshadow similar action in the CSAPR states in the eastern half of the U.S.

"If EPA starts, as many suspect and I suspect, to set up the authority to impose these BART FIPs in Eastern states, then we are going to have another big state sovereignty battle. What's been raging west of the Mississippi is going start raging east of the Mississippi for a lot of these states," he said.