Unable to get cap and trade through Congress, President Obama has settledfor just the cap via regulation by the EPA. Today, his EPA will issue newlimits on the amount of CO2 which can be produced by newpower plants — and they may shut down coal plants altogether:
The proposed rule – years in the making and approved by theWhite House after months of review – will require any new power plant toemit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricityproduced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 poundsof CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
One industry lawyer notes that by taking coal off the table via regulation,Obama has undercut his “all of the above” rhetoric on energy:
“This standard effectively bans new coal plants,” said JosephStanko, who heads government relations at the law firm Hunton and Williamsand represents several utility companies. “So I don’t see how that is an’all of the above’ energy policy.”
In January 2008, candidate Obama told reporters he would take this path ifelected President. He was speaking of a cap and trade system at the time,but today’s move by the EPA is effectively a cap without the trade portionof the system:
If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant they can. It’sjust that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a hugesum for all that greenhouse gas that’s going to be emitted…The point is, if we set rigorous standards for the allowable emissions, thenwe can allow the market to determine and technology and entrepreneurs topursue what’s the best approach to take.