Comment Period for EPA Rollback on CO2 Emissions Extended to March 18

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to eliminate Carbon Capture Sequestration (CCS) requirements for new, modified and reconstructed fossil fuel-fired power plants. (Think coal.)  The new rule would worsen climate and other public health impacts and still fail to make the coal industry viable.

Take Action Now

The comment period has been extended to March 18 on this proposed rollback of regulations on CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. 

#1:  Submit your comments electronically on the Federal Register Website;  click on the “Comment Now” button on the upper right to get started.

#2: Share your comments with your members of congress.  Find your Members of Congress Here.


Suggested Comments and Background

(From our friends at Indivisible Berkeley)

Note: It is best to personalize or modify the wording. You do not need to be a scientist or expert to submit your comments. Add any personal experience you, your family or friends are having with the effects of climate change. Here are some suggestions of what to include:

Even if the elimination of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) were to go into effect, EPA’s own calculations show that it would not make coal plants competitive enough to revive the industry. But if any energy companies did make the investment to build, modify or reconstruct, CO2 emissions would rise at a time when all reputable science bodies show that global warming is accelerating faster than previously thought and that urgent and dramatic reductions are needed ([2018 National Climate Assessment, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report:  Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius). EPA is proposing a legally questionable action that is at odds with science and will endanger our citizens.

Weakening CO2 emission standards in the U.S. has worldwide implications that come back to harm Americans. The administration continues to lobby for continued use of coal around the world, despite its impact on global warming. Weakening of U.S. CO2 standards, along with U.S. lobbying efforts, sends a dangerous message about relaxing emission standards to the many countries where coal-fired plants remain competitive. The IPCC’s 2014 synthesis report shows that CO2 reduction targets cannot be met worldwide without CCS. Increased emissions in other countries will worsen global warming, harm the U.S. economy and further endanger the safety of American citizens.

EPA is proposing emission standards that are weaker than emission levels already achieved by plants currently operating. Asa result, the proposal would cause greater environmental harm. To justify weakening the standards, EPA raises questions about whether CCS is, in fact, an adequately demonstrated technology. However, this question was thoroughly analyzed when the requirement was originally established. And the examples EPA cites to question the viability of CCS are cases where the plants are operating and successfully capturing a significantly large portion of their CO2 emissions- much more than would be required if EPA’s proposal goes into effect.

To further justify the proposal, EPA has recalculated the costs of CCS. Yet the analysis does not consider a study released in November 2018 by the International CCS Knowledge Centre that finds significant cost reductions for future CCS. EPA does not present a rationale for why (the incorrectly calculated) increased costs for new coal plants are unreasonable. In its press release about the proposal, EPA states that it would“level the playing field so that new technology can be a part of America’s future.” The most urgent concern for America’s future is climate change.Leveling the playing field for fossil fuel or any other energy technology is a legally questionable criterion for taking action under the Clean Air Act.

EPA’s economic analysis acknowledges that no new coal plants are likely to be built in the U.S., whether or not the rule goes into effect. The analysis shows that there would be little or no emission changes or costs associated with the proposal. If this is the case, there is no rationale for weakening the rule and sufficient justification for maintaining it – which would ensure no greater harm to U.S. citizens.

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