Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Carbon Rules, Soot Standard, Competing Studies

by | Nov 18, 2011

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The EPA said that it will propose twice-delayed rules for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants early next year, Reuters reported. The agency delayed the release of the long-anticipated Clean Air Act rules in June and September amid an onslaught of criticism from Republicans in Congress.

A coalition of health, environmental groups and state governments announced that they are suing the EPA to compel the agency to revise the national ambient air quality standards for fine particulate matter, more commonly known as soot. The lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to set a deadline for the EPA to set a new standard after the same court found in 2006 that the EPA’s current standard violated the Clean Air Act.

South Korea on Thursday unveiled a $15.9 billion plan to incubate 50 green energy businesses by 2020 with the aim of securing a larger share of the renewables market, Power Industry News reported. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the government will provide research and development funds mainly for solar and wind power generation.

SolarWorld and a coalition of manufacturers will file a trade claim against China in the European Union in addition to their claim in the U.S., Green Tech Solar reported. The company is trying to get signatures from companies that make up at least 50 percent of manufacturing capacity in the European solar industry before bringing a formal complaint against Chinese producers for alleged price fixing.

New clean energy standards will spur innovation, diversify electricity supplies, and reduce air pollution, according to a new study released today by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the Regulatory Assistance Project. The organizations announced that the paper, “Clean Energy Standards: State and Federal Policy Options and Implications, encourages the 31 states with renewable energy portfolio standards to build on their work, while encouraging other governments to set standards.

A new study finds that the Cross-State Air Pollution and Utility MACT rules will create jobs as companies move to build a fleet of modern power plants. The study by Ceres and the Institute of Clean Air Companies said the rules will require $94 million in investment in 2,200 jobs at plants that are more than 50 years old.

The Midwest Independent System Operator said the Cross-State Air Pollution, Utility MACT and other EPA rules will shut down 13,000 megawatts of coal fired generation and boost consumer prices, Reuters reported. The power grid operator said an analysis of four proposed regulations shows that Midwest coal plants will need to spend $33 billion to retrofit or replace about 62,000 MW of the grid’s 70,000 MW of coal-fired generation.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., wants the State Department to investigate alleged human rights abuses in developing countries by companies involved in carbon credit and offset projects. The senator sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking the department to look into claims by Oxfam International that The New Forest Company, a firm that grows tree plantations in order to sell carbon credits, violently evicted more than 20,000 people from their homes and land in Uganda to make way for a carbon sink project.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu withstood five hours of questioning before the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce committee and a media-packed hearing on Thursday, Reuters reported. Chu defended all decisions he made on the $535 million loan to failed solar firm, Solyndra, and repeatedly denied any influence from prominent donors.

Ag Procesing Inc. will pay a $96,588 civil penalty to the EPA to settle claims that the company failed to to develop a Facility Response Plan for its soybean processing plant in Mason City, Iowa, Water and Wastes Digest reported. The EPA alleged that the plant had no emergency plans for a worst-case discharge into nearby Chelsea Creek, which flows into the Winnebago River.

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