The famous adage that nothing is certain in this world but death and taxes should probably be amended. At least insofar as politics and policy are concerned, there is a third inevitability: lawsuits.
Before they even know the details of a major environmental regulation, affected industries start looking for ways to get it thrown out in court. That’s definitely the case for President Obama’s newly proposed regulation on CO2 emissions from existing power plants. Republican-controlled states will be joining the legal assault too because the power-plant rule, like Obamacare, would impose mandates on state governments. Continue reading
Reports of the demise of coal-fired power plants are greatly exacerbated by reality. Using coal to make electricity isn’t going away any time soon. And the coal plants that are going away the soonest account for relatively little carbon emissions.
One of the state’s two largest investor-owned utilities (PSO) is moving away from coal, but it won’t be out of the coal business until at least 2026. The other utility, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., remains committed to coal even though it will require expensive upgrades to its generating station near Red Rock.
Coal remains the cheapest way to make power, which is one reason it will stay in the fuel mix despite the Obama administration’s attempt to get rid of it and the environmental community’s demand that coal be kept underground for as long as it has been already. Continue reading
The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently announced decision to, in effect, ban the construction of traditional coal-fired power plants in the United States is a non-solution to a hypothetical problem, enacted upon a legal basis that is shaky and an economic basis that is nonexistent. The cost-benefit analysis is almost entirely one-sided: The costs will be very high, and the benefits the EPA hopes to secure will remain out of reach.
The EPA is demanding that new U.S. plants that will use coal to generate electricity must meet standards that today are met by no commercial coal-fired plant operating anywhere in the world. There are, however, two plants coming on line — one in Saskatchewan, one in Mississippi — that incorporate new technology designed to capture enough carbon dioxide to satisfy the EPA demands. Whether that new technology will be effective in practice remains to be seen; whether it will be both effective and cost-effective is a much more important and complex question, one that the EPA has no genuine interest in contemplating. Continue reading