March 18, 2019 – The Clinic submitted comments today in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to roll back greenhouse gas emissions standards for new power plants.
For more than a decade, the Clinic has been researching and analyzing the technical and legal issues associated with the development of carbon capture and sequestration (“CCS”) as a mechanism for reducing the contribution of fossil fuel combustion to climate change. In 2015, EPA issued a final rule requiring that any new coal-fired power plants built in the United States use CCS to sequester 17-23% of their carbon emissions. In response to an Executive Order from President Trump directing federal agencies to revise regulations that allegedly burden domestic energy production, EPA has proposed to eliminate the requirement that new coal plants use CCS.
The Clinic’s comments explain that CCS is both technically and economically feasible for new coal-fired plants. The case for CCS is even stronger in 2019 than it was in 2015, with the Petra Nova plant in Texas and the Boundary Dam plant in Canada now both successfully using CCS at commercial scale. In fact, the comments argue, the CCS mandate should be expanded to cover a greater percentage of emissions and to include new natural gas plants.
The comments are available here: Comments on Proposed Rule: Review of Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, 83 Fed. Reg. 65,424 (Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2013–0495).
Steven Kerns (JD ’20) and Haibo Zhao (JD ’20) wrote the comments with Clinic Director Wendy Jacobs, Deputy Director Shaun Goho, and Clinical Fellow Lynne Dzubow.