On Monday, EPA issued Clean Water Act standards to protect larvae and minnows from cooling water intake systems at nuclear, coal, and natural gas power plants. The cost would be about $250 million per year, and these expenses would fall disproportionately on nuclear power plants, which require greater volumes of water for cooling purposes. According to the North
American Electric Reliability Council, an electric reliability watchdog, EPA’s rule was a major
reason that utilities and independent power producers decided to retire almost 4,000 megawatts of nuclear powered electricity.
Across the States
EPA’s Reported Climate Plan Would Facilitate Carbon Taxes
Details are leaking out
about EPA’s impending climate plan for existing power plants pursuant to
section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. In the past, EPA has interpreted Clean Air Act section 111(d) such that it applied on a source-by-source basis. However, Bloomberg and Reuters
reported that EPA’s climate
require “beyond the fence” or “mass emissions”
—i.e., states would be required to regulate beyond a power plant’s smokestack. EPA’s
plan thus represents a radical change from past practice, one that gives the agency the authority to require green energy production quotas or even curtailments of electricity demand.
Environmental special interests were quick to support EPA’s approach and offer ideas for what
the agency could impose. Yesterday, for example, David Bookbinder, co-founder of the climate consulting firm Element VI, endorsed state carbon taxes at a briefing held by Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. And David Doniger, policy director for the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told
Reuters that EPA’s reported plan would
facilitate regional cap-and-trades. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt this week presented the alternative viewpoint. On Tuesday at the N
ational Press Club, AG Pruitt released his plan for compliance with EPA’s carbon rules that prohibited a “beyond the fence” approach, in line with what the agency has
always done to date when it implements Clean Air Act section 111(d).
Around the World
Australia Slashes Renewable and Climate Funding
-National Coalition government announced last week that it would cut
spending on renewable energy and all climate-related programs from A$5.75 billion in the current fiscal year to A$1.25 billion in the 2014-15 fiscal year and to A$500 million by 2017-18.
plan last year, spending on climate and