Competitive Enterprise Institute Criticizes Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN, 8 – Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute criticized EPA’s proposed Carbon Pollution Standard, a regulation which would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants. The regulation was published in today’s Federal Register, thereby kicking off a 60 day comment period. CEI’s initial comments on the proposal, submitted today, are available here

“The carbon pollution rule is a blatant usurpation of legislative power,” notes CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis. “If any senator or representative introduced a bill containing the rule’s emission standards, it would be dead on arrival. Congress has never approved a de facto ban on new coal generation, and certainly did not do so when it enacted the Clean Air Act in 1970, years before global warming emerged as a policy issue.”

“The carbon pollution rule is the product of a devious bait-and-fuel-switch strategy,” Lewis continues. “When Gina McCarthy was Air Administrator, she told stakeholders that best available control technology (BACT) for carbon dioxide (CO2) would not require utilities planning to build coal power plants to fuel-switch and build natural gas combined cycle plants instead. The rule’s new source performance standards (NSPS) do just that, even though NSPS are typically less stringent than BACT.”

“The regulation is legally dubious on a number of fronts,” says CEI Senior Fellow William Yeatman. “For starters, it is based on a speculative technology, carbon capture and sequestration.” 

“More fundamentally,” Yeatman continues, “the regulation would result in an increase of greenhouse gas emissions, as EPA projects that future coal plants would comply with the rule by capturing their carbon dioxide, and then selling it to enhance the recovery of oil. According to our analysis, every 1 kilogram of CO2 captured would engender an equivalent of 1.6 kilograms of CO2 emitted from the combustion of the recovered oil. Of course, a regulation that exacerbates the supposed problem is absurd.”