Regulations singling out coal-fired power plants and imposing impossible burdens on them will be fiercely contested under laws that require the EPA to weigh costs and will be challenged in court as being “arbitrary, capricious (and) an abuse of discretion” under the Administrative Procedure Act.
But Obama’s new initiatives may make little real difference to the outlook for coal-fired power generation in North America, which is already bleak as a result of shale gas and requirements that power companies get a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.
But the president’s announcement was short on new initiatives. Less than a quarter of the speech was spent on specific policies. The president devoted fewer than 300 words in 6,000 (less than 5 percent) to discussing emissions standards for power plants.
In concrete terms, the speech was accompanied by a “presidential memorandum” to the EPA directing the agency to issue a new version of its proposed regulation for carbon emissions from new power plants by Sept. 20, 2013.
Obama also directed the agency to work on new emission standards for modified, reconstructed and existing power plants, asking for a draft by June 2014, a final rule by June 2015, and implementation by June 2016.
None of this is new. The EPA has been working on emission standards for new power plants under its authority to issue New Source Prevention Standards. It has long been assumed the agency would try to regulate emissions from existing and upgraded power plants under its authority to issues rules covering Prevention of Significant Deterioration.
In effect, the president lent his imprimatur to initiatives that the EPA has already been working on. It was meant to rally his base, and convince environmental groups he remains serious about tackling climate change, after a period when many were starting to question the administration’s resolution in this area.
This is for you. We are talking about a minimum of three years from now by Obama's schedule before any of the new EPA rules take effect. That is if there are no snags or fights. These changes aren't coming anytime soon.
Go ahead, short this stock based on something that may or may not happen in 4 years from now.
I am amazed that the EPA has not come down on the paper industry about all the coal that they still use. Maybe they have just slipped under the radar. But they may just switch to LNG because of the difference in cost, even if they have to bring it in by tank car because of a lack of pipeline capacity.