The USEPA announced its intention to deliver yet another body blow to the power and petrochemical industries, piling on another layer of unneeded, unwanted and economically disastrous regulations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. Before we consider the agency’s latest move, let’s take a moment to consider all that has been done and will be done in the name of fighting the non-existent problem of global warming. States and the feds are already moving forward with at least six major regulatory programs designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels and thus decimate the energy sector:
- New CAFÉ Standards – This is arguably the least bad of the bunch, because the due date for the new 35.5 miles per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard is at least a few years out (2016). Nonetheless, the new CAFÉ standard will make automobiles more expensive – as even the White House admits – less safe (lighter cars don’t do as well in accidents as compared to heavier ones) and will do almost nothing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- Renewable Portfolio Standards – More than thirty states, encompassing about three quarters of the population of the United States, have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards. These standards require using ever decreasing amounts of electricity generated by the combustion of fossil fuels.
- Regional Trading Programs – States in three parts of the country, the east coast, the west coast and the midwest, have formed partnerships to create regional cap and trade programs. The east coast cap and trade program has been up and running for two years. The west coast and midwest programs will “go live” in the near future.
- Permitting of Greenhouse Gases – Recent USEPA guidance directed state permitting authorities to treat greenhouse gases as regulated pollutants when considering the construction of new major sources and major modifications to existing sources. Permitting authorities are further directed to apply the Best Available Control Technology standard to the control of greenhouse gases from these sources.
- New Ambient Air Standards – The USEPA’s new ambient air standards for “traditional” air pollutants are so ridiculously low that it’s virtually impossible for any new facility to comply with them. This is thus a back-door way of ensuring that no new fossil fuel fired power facilities can be built.
- New Hazardous Air Pollution Rules – The USEPA’s new rules limiting emissions of hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers are also draconian. Again, the net effect will be to ensure that new industrial boilers powered by fossil fuels are just about impossible to construct.
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