As noted in Part I, EPA’s 1971 sulfur dioxide standard was based on the application of wet scrubber technology. However, most utilities found it was cheaper to meet the standard by switching to low sulfur coal, rather than install expensive wet scrubbers.
Consequently, during the 1970s, demand for low sulfur coal skyrocketed. Western states, primarily Wyoming and Utah, benefitted; eastern coal producing States in Appalachia and the Ohio River valley suffered.
In Congress, lawmakers from eastern coal producing states sought to redress the economic harm resulting from fuel switching precipitated by EPA’s sulfur standards. Their solution was to require scrubbers at all new coal-fired power plants.
If utilities had to install sulfur controls, these lawmakers reasoned, there would be no incentive to switch to low-sulfur coal. (Of course, this is an absurd waste: From an environmental standpoint, there’s no benefit if a utility installs wet scrubbers and also switches to higher sulfur coal.…
High-ranking EPA officials, prominent congressional Democrats, and environmental special interests are peddling a great green lie regarding the Carbon Pollution Standard, the Obama administration’s boldest front yet in its war on coal.
These policymakers and environmental special interests would have the public believe that the Carbon Pollution Standard, which requires carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS), is akin to EPA’s 1970s-era requirements that all new coal-fired power plants install “scrubbers” to control sulfur dioxide. What was good and reasonable then is so now, they reason.
Their analogy, however, is false. As set forth below, the history of the two technologies demonstrates that scrubbers, when mandated by EPA, were indeed commercially viable, whereas CCS is not now so. In fact, the comparison between scrubbers and CCS is even worse than wrong for proponents of the Carbon Pollution Standard, because it actually undermines their legal case for the regulation.…