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Trump admin continues to burn through Obama legacy as EPA set to trash expensive power plant rule

(National SentinelClean-Up: The Trump administration is continuing to roll back expensive, unnecessary regulations imposed on the power industry by the previous White House.

As reported exclusively by The Daily Caller, the Environmental Protection Agency, led by Scott Pruitt, is formulating plans to repeal a requirement imposed by the Obama administration that essentially requires all new coal-fired power plants to be built with costly emissions-reduction technology that is unproven.

The DC noted further:

EPA will modify the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for power plants as part of its effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) — the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate agenda. EPA will drop the de facto requirement that new coal plants install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology Obama administration critics said would make it nearly impossible to build new coal plants.

“It’s fantastic that the Trump EPA is repealing the Obama EPA’s ban on new coal-fired power plants,” Junkscience.com publisher Steve Milloy told TheDCNF.

The news site noted that it isn’t yet clear how the agency will alter NSPS. However, getting rid of the CCS mandate may mean raising carbon dioxide emissions limits for new plants to a level that will allow power companies to build much more highly efficient plants.

Operators of coal-fired plants in the past have requested higher emissions limits in order to allow them to build supercritical and ultra-supercritical units. Currently, there is only one ultra-supercritical coal plant operating in the U.S., the Turk power plant in Arkansas.’

Mostly completed in 2006 it took another six years to jump through various legal and regulatory hurdles before finally coming online in 2012. It’s the most efficient coal-burning plant in the country.

“While no new standard is really necessary since U.S. coal plants already burn coal cleanly and safely, kudos to the Trump EPA for requiring only the best existing and affordable technology,” said Milloy, who served on President Donald J. Trump’s EPA transition team.

The DC reported further:

The Obama administration finalized the NSPS in 2015, which set limits on how much carbon dioxide new power plants could emit. Emission rates for coal plants were set so low new plants would have to install CCS technology.

When the EPA finalized NSPS in 2015, the coal industry said it would effectively kill coal-fired power in the U.S. because it mandated unproven technology. EPA and environmentalists argued CCS was a viable technology. “Highly efficient supercritical pulverized coal unit with partial carbon capture and storage” was the best way to meet emissions limits, EPA found.

“This final standard of performance for newly constructed fossil fuel-fired steam generating units provides a clear and achievable path forward for the construction of such sources while addressing GHG emissions and supporting technological innovation,” EPA wrote in its 2015 regulation.

When Obama’s EPA promulgated its rule there were no CCS-equipped plants operating in the U.S. To get around that, EPA relied heavily on a CCS project supported by the Canadian government called Boundary Dam.


But that facility only retrofitted a single coal-fired unit with the CCS technology, not an entire electric plant. As such, the project has captured some 2 million metric tons of CO2 but at a high cost — $1.2 billion.

“Though the Obama EPA rule would technically have allowed coal plants that captured and stored about 50 percent of their CO2 emissions,” Milloy said, “that standard was known to be financially, physically and politically impossible to meet for any existing or imagined coal plant.”

“The Obama standard was a de facto ban on new coal plants,” Milloy told The DC.

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