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Category — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Beyond Furloughs: Ax EPA Climatism

“We need to save our environment from environmentalists and EPA – and safeguard our liberties, living standards and lives against the arrogance of too-powerful politicians and bureaucrats. How we will be able to do that is one of the greatest challenges we face today.”

Imagine if instead of ten furlough days for each of the 17,000 employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the department let employees choose which programs to eliminate from EPA’s $8.5 billion annual budget.

Assuming the most agenda-driven, anti-environmental programs were chosen, down the climate-change rathole the cutters would go, leaving the real air and water areas for continued EPA focus.

Good Timing

A strong case can be made to cut climate first. Numerous articles document how European climate policies have been disastrous for affordable energy, economic growth, entire industries, people’s jobs and welfare, wildlife habitats and human lives. Even the IPCC, BBC and Economist have finally recognized that average global temperatures have not budged since 1997.

The EU economy is teetering at the precipice, people are outraged at the duplicity and the price they have been made to pay, the Euro Parliament has voted to end subsidies for its Emissions Trading Scheme, and the global warming and renewable energy false façade is slowly crumbling. [Read more →]

May 30, 2013   1 Comment

U.S. EPA’s Adventures In Arithmetic: A Look at the CO2 Car Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to effect a reduction in CO2 releases in the U.S. by raising the required fuel economy standards for new cars in 2014 and again in 2016.  The current standard, now at 30.2 mpg for passenger cars (everything here is about passenger cars, the analysis of light trucks will have to wait) will rise to 35.5 mpg in 2016.

EPA claims that they used a carbon price of $21/tonne to establish the appropriate increase in fuel economy.  The EPA also claims that these standards will reduce CO2 releases from the vehicle sector by 21%.  Well, at least they are not using the number 19.  This proposal will have a minute effect on CO2 levels and is unlikely to come in at the very low or “negative” cost per tonne of CO2 claimed by its proponents.

Static Scoring and the Jevons Paradox

One of the oldest professional fights in Washington is about whether the objects of the government’s interest at a given time will simply accept what is put in front of them or react, perhaps in ways not included in the “scoring.”  Decades of poor predictions on cost and performance should have taught us that assuming no response by consumers, investors or others is probably the least likely of all possible scenarios. [Read more →]

April 8, 2010   5 Comments

Time to Repeal New Source Review? (Up to 30 GW of coal-plant upgrades hangs in the balance)

The typical pulverized coal power plant in the U.S. is about 35 years old, yet the fleet will continue to operate for many years to come. New coal-fired plants, meanwhile, will continue to enter service but at a slow rate. There may not be a future price for carbon dioxide (CO2) given the dramatic scientific and political developments that we are going through, but cheap natural gas makes it difficult to justify the higher up-front costs of a new coal plant.

Still, there is significant new electricity generation capacity is possible from these older plants, perhaps as much as 30,000 MW–twice EIA’s projected growth of coal power over the next two decades. In addition, new technology upgrades have the potential of improving the operating efficiency by 3% to 5%. But the impediment for such win-wins is the risk of a New Source Review violation, years of litigation, and possibly fines.

Given the Obama Administration’s stance against coal, many attendees of the National Coal Council’s December meeting were caught flat-footed when DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy James Markowsky suggested an exception be made under Clean Air Act’s New Source Review (NSR) program. Mr. Markowsky proposed easing the NSR requirements for power plants that make modifications to improve their operating efficiency–assuming those plants would be good candidates for a later retrofit of a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) system.

Markowsky’s trial balloon also suggested that candidate plants would already have installed flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems. The concept is intriguing but doesn’t go near far enough in solving the nation’s energy woes.

NSR Definitions Remain Murky

NSR is the process established by the Clean Air Act (CAA) that requires utilities to add a host of new and expensive emission controls should they make any “major modifications” to the plant that increase emissions. The definition of a major modification has been the subject of numerous court battles since the Clinton Administration yet stills remains murky. Even when upgrades were discussed with the EPA in advance of their installation, Justice has routinely lowered the legal boom on utilities that made common maintenance changes to their plants The usual result has been a decade of legal maneuvering followed by a consent decree agreement where the utility agrees to install new emission controls and pay a fine. [Read more →]

February 4, 2010   2 Comments

Why is the Party in Power So Fearful of Copenhagen? (Is a 'death spiral' for climate alarmism ahead?)

[Editor note: Ken Green was a Working Group 1 expert reviewer for the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001]

For weeks now, we’ve been hearing an odd refrain from the Democrats who are pushing hardest for the Waxman-Markey climate bill. They are determined, it seems, not only to have such a bill drawn up before Copenhagen, but to have it signed into law. At the same time, the EPA is widely expected to issue its endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, triggering what will undoubtedly be a hotly disputed regulatory process.

President Obama, it is reported, wants to sign climate legislation before the critically important Copenhagen climate conference in December. And Senate Majority leader Harry Reid wants the President to sign a climate bill this fall as well.

They both have plenty of company in the “act first, think later” brigade.

A New York Times article shows the sense of urgency: [Read more →]

September 1, 2009   14 Comments

Stunningly Trivial Emission Reductions from the Renewable Fuel Standard Program: More MAGICC–this time from EPA

On May 5, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a proposed rule to implement changes in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

Congress created the RFS–commonly known as the ethanol mandate–in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The leading rationale then was energy security. It was supposed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. EISA increased the size of the mandate from 7.5 billion gallons a year in 2012 to 36 billion gallons a year in 2022.

In addition, EISA established greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction standards that fuels must meet in order to qualify as “renewable.” Arguably, this was the first regulatory global warming policy that Congress ever enacted. Well, how much global warming will it avert? Answer: Too little for scientists to detect even if the new mandates are enforced throughout the 21st century. [Read more →]

May 8, 2009   6 Comments