Timing Is Everything: EPA Delays CO2 Regulations

Posted on Wed 02/24/2010 by


By Nick Loris

Let’s wait until the economy recovers a little before we step on it with costly environmental regulations. That was the message from Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson in a response to eight Democratic senators from industrial coal states the authority of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Administrator Jackson said by April she will “take actions to ensure that no stationary source will be required to get a Clean Air Act permit to cover its greenhouse gas emissions in calendar year 2010.”

As the Clean Air Act is currently written, the EPA could regulate sources or establishments that emit 100 or 250 tons or more of a pollutant per year. The EPA is proposing a “tailoring rule” that would amend the CAA so that only entities that emit 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year would be affected. But even the 25,000 ton threshold is subject to change said Jackson: “I expect the threshold for permitting will be substantially higher than the 25,000-ton limit that EPA originally proposed.” These regulations for the largest of emitters are expected to take place between the latter half of 2011 and 2013.

Smaller entities would be exempt from carbon dioxide regulations – for now. Schools, farms, restaurants, hospitals, apartment complexes, churches, and anything with a motor–from motor vehicles to lawnmowers, jet skis, and leaf blowers–could be subject to regulations – but no sooner than 2016 said Jackson.

Although Jackson is delaying the regulatory pain, the business uncertainty the EPA is creating is preventing economic recovery today. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in a response to Lisa Jackson’s statement, said, “Until the specter of command-and-control regulations goes away, it will remain a counterproductive threat hanging over the work that must be done to find common ground.” A December 2009 National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) survey of small and independent business owners asked owners to rank the single most important problem they faced. Behind poor sales, taxes and government regulations/red tape finished second and third, respectively. Government regulations and red tape jumped three spots from a year ago.

Even without regulations, the prospect of them is enough to impose economic harm. Rising uncertainty can drive down investments in riskier projects and prohibit expansion. The EPA may be delaying carbon dioxide regulations but they’re also delaying a quicker economic recovery with looming uncertainty.

TonyfromOz adds …..

Go back and read that second paragraph very carefully. See where it mentions that this ‘new’ ‘tailoring rule’ that says this will only apply to those entities emitting 25,000 tons of CO2 each year.

Whew! Seems a lot, eh!

That accounts for every single power plant from three sectors, coal fired, petroleum, and the natural gas sectors. This makes up 70% of all electrical power consumed in the whole of the US.

There are more than 600 coal fired power plants alone.
Of that, the largest 130 of those coal fired plants emit this much CO2, (25,000 tons) and wait for it, every day.
All that coal fired power supplies electrical power on a 24/7/365 basis.

Each year, just to supply America with electrical power, nearly 3.5 Billion tons of CO2 is emitted from plants in those three sectors I have mentioned above.

They will have to keep doing that, and for decades to come, because that is the only way that level of electrical power can still be available to where it is required, Residential (38%) Commerce (37%) and Industrial (24%).

Renewable power currently supplies only 3.5% of all consumed power, and they cannot supply their power on that 24/7/365 basis, ever.
There is no feasible replacement for that level of power in the long term, let alone the short term.

See now how carbon cap and trade is a goldmine for the government that introduces it. They’re not legislating to reduce emissions, just to make money from what is a captive target, and one that will remain a captive target for decades to come.

Shut down that amount of electrical power, and you send the US back to the Stone Age.

What we need is for our politicians to tell us the truth. Either that, or actually check first before opening their mouths or rushing ahead with legislation aimed to do only one thing, to rake in huge amounts of money, money from power plants that will pass on those costs directly down to the consumer, all of you.

Contributing Author Nick Loris writes at The Heritage Foundation and he is a Research Assistant at The Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.

Read more informative articles at Heritage – The Foundry