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EPA to issue greenhouse gas emissions rule for new power plants next week

The Wall Street Journal (9/12, Johnson, Tracy, Subscription Publication) reports manufacturers are concerned that the new regulations could lead to an electricity supply crunch or rising prices for the public. Ross Eisenberg, the Vice President For Energy Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, said, “For the first time ever, EPA is becoming a regulator of energy. The rule they’re putting out there is going to force choices as to which energy you use, and that’s a very disturbing concept for manufacturers, for businesses, for anybody that has to comply with these laws.”

The Washington Post (9/12, Eilperin) reports that the EPA is expected to release a rule setting new pollution standards including limits on greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants this month. For natural gas plants a standard of about 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt is expected, whereas the average such plant emits carbon dioxide at a rate of about 850 pounds per MW. The limit for coal-fired plants may be “as high as” 1,400 pounds, while the current average emission rate for coal plants is 1,768 pounds. A former Bush Administration official in the EPA explained that given current capabilities it means that such a rule “will effectively prohibit the construction of new coal-fired plants.”

Bloomberg News (9/12, Drajem) reports the rule is “under review by White House officials,” who are being lobbied by “coal producers such as Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc. (ACI), and utilities such as American Electric Power Co. (AEP),” arguing against a rule that would require carbon capture. The American Public Power Association is urging a standard of 1,900 pounds with a review after eight years to assess the viability of carbon capture.

The Washington Post (9/12, Kunkle), the “Regwatch” blog of The Hill (9/12, Hattem) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch(9/12) also provide coverage of this story.

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