States revolt against EPA’s global warming agenda

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

Nebraska filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency over the agency’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions limits for new power plants.

The Cornhusker State is the latest to push back against the Obama administration’s effort to fight global warming.

State Attorney General Jon Bruning says that the EPA’s carbon emissions limits would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants because it requires they adopt carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology — which is not commercially proven.

Bruning argues that the CCS requirement violates federal law as the EPA only cites projects that are federally-funded — which is prohibited under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The EPA justifies its CCS requirement by citing three inoperable projects in the U.S. that have received $2.5 billion in federal funds., as well as one Canadian government-backed project.

“The impossible standards imposed by the EPA will ensure no new power plants are built in Nebraska,” Bruning said in a statement. “This federal agency continues to overstep its authority at the detriment of Nebraska businesses.”

Nebraska is the most recent state to challenge the EPA’s attempts to regulate carbon emissions and fight global warming. Late last year, Texas and twelve other states challenged the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other stationary sources.

The states, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argued that the EPA did not have the authority to require power plants and other facilities to get permits for emitting greenhouse gases. The EPA argued that its “tailpipe” rule for vehicles triggered permitting for stationary sources as well.

The major problem with the EPA’s attempt to require permitting for greenhouse gases from stationary sources was that the Clean Air Act’s permitting requirements were configured for emissions levels that only a few industrial facilities met. But carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emitted by human activity, is emitted by nearly every facility, and in amounts that would have required more than six million buildings to get EPA permits.

“Smart, necessary regulation by the EPA makes sense, but once again the EPA – under President Obama’s tenure – has stretched the boundary of its authority. The Clean Air Act was never designed to regulate greenhouse gases,” said Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce joined with 74 other state and local business groups from 33 different states to oppose the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

Despite pushback from states and businesses, the Obama administration is still moving forward with its climate agenda. Earlier this month, the EPA published its proposed carbon emissions limits for new power plants.

“Provided that Congress does not prevent EPA and other agencies from doing their jobs, and provided that those agencies are ambitious in implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan,” Natural Resources Defense Council climate expert Dan Lashof testified to the Senate on Thursday, “we can build on the progress to date and achieve this goal through cost effective standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and vehicles, methane emissions from oil and gas operations, and HFC emissions from the chemical and consumer products industries.

“Doing so will create new markets for technological ingenuity and will put the United States on track to the much deeper emission reductions needed to forestall out-of-control climate disruption and protect our health and the future our children inherit,” Lashof added.

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Tags : environmental protection agency global warming nebraska
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