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EPA targets coal-fired power with carbon pollution standard.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 27, 2012, proposed a new source of performance standards (NSPS) for emissions of carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]) for new affected fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units (EGUs). The agency said it is proposing these requirements because C[O.sub.2] is a greenhouse gas (GHG) and fossil fuel-fired power plants are the country's largest stationary source emitters of GHGs.

The proposed requirements, which are limited to "new sources," would require new fossil fuel-fired EGUs greater than 25 megawatt electric (MWe) to meet an output-based standard of 1,000 lb of C[O.sub.2] per megawatt-hour (lb C[O.sub.2]/MWh), based on the performance of widely used natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology, according to the EPA. The agency said new coal- or petcoke-fired units could meet the standard either by employing carbon capture and storage (CCS) of approximately 50% of the C[O.sub.2] in the exhaust gas at startup, or through later application of more effective CCS to meet the standard on average over a 30-year period. Readers can see the entire proposed regulation at: http://epa.gov/carbonpollutionstandard/ pdfs/20120327proposal.pdf.

The proposed NSPS drew sharp criticism from the National Mining Association (NMA). "The EPA's proposal for controlling GHG emissions from about half the nation's electric power supply is a poorly disguised cap-and-tax scheme that represents energy and economic policy at its worst," said NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn. "Requiring coal-based power plants to meet an emissions standard based on natural gas technology is a policy overtly calculated to destroy a significant portion of American's electricity supply." Quinn also pointed to higher utility costs for consumers and reduced grid reliability as other consequences of the rule.

While the EPA said the rule targets new plants and is "not intended" to affect existing facilities, many are concerned plant modifications required by other EPA rules will be deemed "major" and expose those operations to new source review requirements, including the proposed NSPS.

TOP 10 COAL-PRODUCING STATES
in Thousand Short Tons)
Week Ending (3/31/12)

                  YTD'12     YTD'11    % Change

Wyoming           102,249    109,063        -6.2
West Virginia      33,106     35,409        -6.5
Kentucky           26,427     27,751        -4.8
Pennsylvania       14,349     15,393        -6.8
Texas              10,435     10,615        -1.7
Indiana             8,867      9,544        -7.1
Illinois            8,706      8,873        -1.9
Montana             8,410      9,394       -10.5
Colorado            7,697      6,442        19.5
North Dakota        7,334      7,654        -4.2

U.S. TOTAL        257,082    273,623        -6.0
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Title Annotation:NEWS; Environmental Protection Agency
Comment:EPA targets coal-fired power with carbon pollution standard.(NEWS)(Environmental Protection Agency)
Publication:Coal Age (1996)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2012
Words:435
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