Skip to comments.‘Clean Coal’ Means No Coal
Posted on 05/25/2012 2:59:09 PM PDT by neverdem
Two weeks ago, the Obama campaign quietly edited its website to highlight the president’s support for “clean coal.” In place of a section for “energy efficiency” with no mention of coal, BarackObama.com now boasts that the stimulus package “invested substantially in carbon capture and sequestration research.”
The administration’s position on coal has, shall we say, evolved. In 2001, the EPA released an endangerment finding stating that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide threaten public health and the environment by contributing to climate change and that therefore they could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Since then, as Bryan Walsh noted in Time magazine, the EPA has “embark[ed] on what could be the most far-reaching environmental regulatory scheme in American history.”
Already, 57 coal-fired plants have closed owing to the EPA’s regulations, according to the National Mining Association. Supporters insist that policies favoring renewable energy sources will lead to lower costs. However, the burden of these coal regulations has contributed to a $300 increase in the average household’s electricity bill over the last five years, despite the substantial stimulus investment “in carbon capture and sequestration research.” Some of this increased cost can be attributed to more demand for electricity. But USA Today reports that the rise in cost is due in part to “the expense of replacing old power plants, including heavily polluting — but cheap to operate — coal plants that don’t meet federal clean air requirements.”
It’s impossible to predict exactly how much these regulations will cost, as the standards themselves are likely to change. Under the Clean Air Act, when an outside group sues an energy producer for supposedly overstepping an emission standard, the EPA can register a consent agreement, which settles the suit in exchange for toughening the standard industry-wide.
This is one of the problems with, for example, the EPA’s new, first-ever fracking regulations. Drilling companies are required to install emission-limiting technology, which most already use. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has called the EPA’s regulatory restraint on this front a “miracle,” adding that “most wellheads and pipelines already exceed the EPA benchmark.” Once the EPA establishes regulations, however, they are bound to become more stringent over time. After the EPA produced its finding on greenhouse gases, for example, it declared that it would start regulating carbon, thereby initiating the continual ratcheting-up process.
Any hopes that the attempt by the Obama campaign to recast the president’s stance on coal presaged a change in the administration’s policies in the run-up to the election were soon dashed. On May 16, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson signed a toughened version of its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which require power companies to install equipment to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide in all coal- and oil-fired plants by 2016.
During a hearing before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Jackson testified that only about half of coal-fired plants now have such equipment. The goal of the new policy is to compel the rest of the plants into compliance, but it seems the new rules might simply chase some companies out of the market. According to West Virginia’s MetroNews, “the new standards Jackson signed . . . have already caused several power companies doing business in West Virginia to announce the closings of some of their older coal-fired power plants.”
This decision comes in the wake of the EPA’s proposal(PDF) to cap carbon-dioxide emissions from new fossil-fuel-fired plants. Signed by Jackson in March, the proposal when finalized would limit new power plants that are 25 megawatts and larger to no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon pollution per megawatt hour of electricity. That would be a 40 to 60 percent decrease for the typical coal-fired plant.
The EPA “believes this proposed rule will have no notable compliance costs associated with it,” as it expects that new plants will already have the necessary equipment for carbon capture and sequestration because of “existing and expected market conditions.” If that were true, then the proposal would be unnecessary. But even supporters of the proposal acknowledge (or celebrate) that the standards it imposes would raise costs. In an article for the Center for American Progress, Daniel Weiss, Jackie Weidman, and Celine Ramstein write that “these additional costs may make some proposed coal-fired power plants uneconomical, so they may be canceled.”
Like many euphemisms, “clean coal” is an oxymoron — the adjective cancels out the noun. Though Obama the candidate tries to appear friendly to all energy sources (especially ones associated with potential swing states, like coal and fracking-accessed shale in Ohio and Pennsylvania), Obama the president has long played favorites.
— Nash Keune is a Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the Franklin Center.
Ah, the four branches of gov’t; Executive, legislative, judicial and .......... the biggie; “Regulatory”.
Hey Obambi...get the EPA to issue the sun a citation.....for not producing enough sun spots.....we facing about 400 years of mini ice age.
Obama is using the EPA to introduce serfdom to the United States. He wants to live in the Manor House.
If we can master "no heat combustion" we should be able to master "clean coal"!
Personally, I'm working on "nuclear energy" without splitting atoms.
Not just coal, but ALL forms of carbon-based energy fuels are prohibited by this line of reasoning. We cannot use wood, which is a carbon-based fuel, because in burning, it releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, obviously a no-no. And clearly, all that energy locked away in the so-called “fossil” fuels, only puts more carbon dioxide into our pristine atmosphere when burned in the presence of oxygen.
News flash. Carbon dioxide is PLANT FOOD, and regardless of its source (burning “fossil” fuels, decay of organic material, exhalation of breath, shaking the fizz out of a carbonated drink, the warming of oceans, or from a volcanic eruption) ALL carbon dioxide gets recycled by the action of sunlight on living plant tissue which has the little miricle worker known as “chlorophyll”, which in the presence of water, converts the carbon dioxide into a marvelous substance generically called “carbohydrate”, but known variously as sugars, starches, cellulose, or lignins, all with similar chemical compositions made up entirely of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. One of the by-producs of this synthesis is oxygen, an element that does not exist in the free state without the presence of living material, and upon which so many reactions we deem useful in daily life depend, not the least of which is “living”.
Does this mean that eating a High Carb diet will get me locked up?
Just as "alternative energy" means "alternatives to energy."
What about DOE? They have lots of cool information about clean coal technology. The Obamites better get busy and scrub that, before somebody else notices.
A few years ago, there was more information on ways to refine most of the pollutants out of the coal, before it is burned. Now, they've incorporated a lot of "carbon sequestration" info.
I ain't a scientist, but this pumping of the carbon into the ground seems ridiculous to me, and another make-work scam for favored cronies like Solyndra. Kind of like lowering the level of the lake, by pumping the water to the bottom.
You are uncommonly perceptive.
That is EXACTLY where this “command and control” approach to governing is headed to. First they starve us of energy sources, then they starve us, period.
Oh, dear. I hope no EPA officials ever walk into a supermarket, drug store, furniture store, or nursery. Every single one of those places that I've visited recently was chock-full of carbon products. Even worse, the little carbon products offered at the nursery keep getting bigger and bigger, through sunlight-catalyzed addition of more carbon.
That's one for each of the Obama states.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
>>The EPA believes this proposed rule will have no notable compliance costs associated with it,
Just to make it clear, this is nothing more than a bald-faced lie. Carbon sequestration equipment for coal plants is barely at the demonstration phase. Even if it were something that we really need, which has not been scientifically established, no one can do it yet on the scale of a serious power plant (say 500 mW or better in capacity), let alone do it at no compliance cost.
This is a case of complete fantasy being used to justify a regulation fully intended to destroy the coal electrical generation industry, which will in turn greatly harm our economy or standard of living. As I like to say to fools supporting this: Don’t like coal? Don’t use electricity!
After seeing decision after decision of this nature coming from the Obama Administration, you really have to wonder if killing our standard of living isn’t their direct goal, and not just an unintended side effect of stupid Leftist policy.
Related thread :
Webcast was scheduled with little notice....sudden.
Boy. Are you folks getting steam rolled over.
Great links too! Thanks.
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