On Monday, the U.S. EPA issued a new rule relaxing the Obama era requirements for treating waste produced by coal-fired power plants. Under the new rule, companies would have more time and flexibility to treat power plant wastewater that contains mercury, arsenic, and other toxic heavy metals. The new rule achieves this by allowing plants that are reducing, or eliminating the use of coal to continue to use outdated water treatment technology to cleanup emission control equipment inside the coal-fired plant’s smoke stakes. The byproduct of this process is water that is contaminated with heavy metals which has historically been… Read more
In an eight-page letter to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (Board), EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler provided assurances to the Board that the EPA would continue to share information with the expert advisors in a timely fashion and be more transparent on key regulatory science issues by holding more rapid and frequent briefings. The Board is a panel of nearly four dozen outside researchers and experts who review the technical information used by the EPA to set policy and draft regulations. The assurance letter from Wheeler was in response to complaints from the Board that the agency was ignoring its own… Read more
In June, the EPA proposed a rule designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The rule provides flexibility to states as to how to achieve the reduction goals; however, some states who will be charged with administering the program have expressed concern over the proposed rules’ frontloading of carbon emission reductions and the selection of a single year, 2012, for establishing each state’s baseline. In Georgia, for instance, the EPA has already taken into account two proposed nuclear facilities that have yet to be constructed. The State of Georgia asserts that if Georgia Power experiences delays or… Read more
The attorneys general of nine states have filed an amicus brief in support of Murray Energy Company’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over proposed carbon dioxide limits on existing power plants. The brief, signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming, asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to issue an extraordinary writ blocking EPA’s proposed carbon standards. According to the brief, the rule as proposed violates the plain text of the Clean Air Act and would result in double regulation on existing power plants…. Read more
On April 15, a Federal DC appeals court upheld the EPA’s February 2012 final rule setting air toxic standards for mercury. Under the rule, which applies to an estimate 600 power plants, power plants must now comply with more stringent emissions limits for mercury, filterable particulate matter as a surrogate for toxic metals, and hydrogen chloride as a surrogate for acid gases. The three-judge panel found that the EPA was well within their discretion under the Clean Air Act (“Act”) to consider only the health benefits, and not the cost to the industry. For more information on this matter, contact… Read more
The EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, stated on February 10 that it is “on track” to issue a proposed carbon dioxide emission standard for existing power plants in June of 2014. According to the EPA, generation of electricity is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately 33% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. According to McCarthy, the new rule will “…encourage clean energy investment that expands domestic industries and secures good paying jobs here in the United States, while making sure there is space for a diverse fuel supply.” For more information, contact Phillip Hoover or… Read more
A federal appellate court dismisses challenges to EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions limit for new fossil fuel-fired power plants filed by power industry representatives as premature. EPA’s proposed new source performance standard for carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants is “not final agency action subject to judicial review,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit says in an order granting EPA’s motion to dismiss the case. For more information, please contact Phillip Hoover or Josie Nackers.