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Today's Federal Register and last Friday's FR contain important Obama Administration rulemaking decisions necessary to put greenhouse gas emission limitations and rules into effect for new electric generating plants using coal, petroleum coke or natural gas.

Here are the latest proposed New Source Performance Standards for power plants:

Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units

EPA is also withdrawing portions of a previous proposal which conflict with the latest proposal.

Public comments are due March 10, 2014, but comments will be more effective if submitted in time for OMB review due by February 7, 2014, according to the FR notice.

EPA will hold a public hearing:

Public Hearing. A public hearing will be held on January 28, 2014,
at the William Jefferson Clinton Building East, Room 1153 (Map Room),
1201 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington DC 20004. The hearing will
convene at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) and end at 8:00 p.m.
(Eastern Standard Time). Please contact Pamela Garrett at (919) (541-
7966) or at garrett.pamela@epa.gov to register to speak at the hearing.
Here is the gist of this latest proposal as announced by EPA to achieve the required Best System of Emission Reduction which will require carbon capture and sequestration for new coal and petroleum coke power plants:
This action proposes a standard of performance for utility boilers and IGCC
units based on partial implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the BSER. The proposed emission limit for those sources is 1,100 lb CO2 /MWh.

This action also proposes standards of performance for natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbines based on modern, efficient natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology as the BSER.  The proposed emission limits for those sources are 1,000 lb CO2 /MWh for larger units and 1,100 lb CO for smaller units. At this time, the EPA is not
proposing standards of performance for modified or reconstructed sources.

Last Friday, EPA issued a final rule effective March 4, 2014 to exclude liquid carbon dioxide from hazardous waste requirements under certain conditions:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) is revising the regulations for hazardous waste management under the  Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude carbon dioxide (CO2) streams that are hazardous from the definition of hazardous waste, provided these hazardous CO2
streams are captured from emission sources, are injected into Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class VI wells for purposes of geologic sequestration (GS), and meet certain other conditions. EPA is taking this action because the Agency believes that the management of these CO2 streams, when meeting certain conditions, does not present a substantial risk to human health or the environment, and therefore additional regulation pursuant to RCRA's hazardous waste regulations is unnecessary. EPA expects that this amendment will substantially reduce the uncertainty associated with identifying these CO2 streams under RCRA subtitle C, and will also facilitate the deployment of GS by providing additional regulatory certainty.
In today's rule, EPA said:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency)
is revising the regulations for hazardous waste management under the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to conditionally exclude
carbon dioxide (CO2) streams that are hazardous from the
definition of hazardous waste, provided these hazardous CO2
streams are captured from emission sources, are injected into
Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class VI wells for purposes of
geologic sequestration (GS), and meet certain other conditions. EPA is
taking this action because the Agency believes that the management of
these CO2 streams, when meeting certain conditions, does not
present a substantial risk to human health or the environment, and therefore
additional regulation pursuant to RCRA's hazardous waste regulations is
unnecessary. EPA expects that this amendment will substantially reduce
the uncertainty associated with identifying these CO2
streams under RCRA subtitle C, and will also facilitate the deployment
of GS by providing additional regulatory certainty.
The rule excluding liquid carbon dioxide from hazwaste regulation is availablehere.

Here is EPA's web site on greenhouse gas emission control from power plants, although today's rule proposal is not yet incorporated at that site.

2:44 PM PT: One thing to realize about a proposed New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) under the Clean Air Act Section 111.   A proposed standard is immediately effective and binding on any entity that wants to get a permit to construct a new power plant after the proposed rule publication.  

Under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act:

"(2)  The term "new Source" means any stationary source, the construction or modification of which is commenced after the publication of regulations (or, if earlier, proposed regulations) prescribing a standard of performance under this section which will be applicable to such source."

This means that today's publication of this proposed standard  is already binding on any proposed new coal, petroleum coke, or natural gas fired power plant as of today's date of publication.

This is President Obama getting environmental protection done in a manner that Bill Clinton never even considered  and that G.W. Bush would never consider.....even though there has been no change in the Clean Air Act since 1990 during all of these Presidential administrations.


Originally posted to LakeSuperior on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 01:48 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, Climate Change SOS, and Kosowatt.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Regulation by government (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, LinSea

    ...turns out to be easier to accomplish and works much more efficiently than the bizarre neo-liberal pseudo-market public-private schemes like carbon taxes, tax credits, or cap-and-trade pseudo-markets.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 03:15:00 PM PST

    •  The sooner we have a carbon tax in the United (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LinSea

      States, the better as having a carbon tax is an aide to both energy conservation and thus greenhouse gas emission reductions arising from those energy conservation measures.

      However, the carbon tax should be structured to reach the greenhouse gas process emission intensity (amount of GHG emissions per unit of process production)....and to tax such facilities, such as coal fired power plants, more severely.

      •  If you mean a carbon tax to economically shutdown (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LinSea

        all existing coal fired power plants without CO2 sequestration, then yes of course. As I remember burning petcoke is even worse than burning coal in terms of CO2 produced per MWH, What will happen when they can't burn it anywhere( assuming they won't just ship it overseas)?

        •  Most petroleum coke produced and combusted (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erratic, LinSea

          in the United States is done in cement kilns which are not subject to the power plant rules unless they engage in co-generation with the clinker production process.   And in a cement kiln, the fuel is not the primary source of process generation of greenhouse gases.....the limestone to make clinker is the primary process driver of CO2 emissions.

          There isn't likely to be a carbon tax enacted that would have the effect of 'economic shutdown' of existing coal fired power plants.   Such plants are going to have to comply with future greenhouse gas emission limitations developed by the states and approved by EPA under the authority of the Federal Clean Air Act.   However, just because a tax is not high enough to cause the effect you're after does not mean a lesser tax does not accomplish anything....it does and the practical effect of increasing the total price of fossil fuel combustion is energy conservation (and thus reduced emissions).   Remember that the imperfect and the possible is not an enemy of progress.

          •  They are going to have to do something with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LinSea

            increasing volumes of tar sands petcoke and US cement production is flat, running at 70% of capacity.
            IEA says that existing pulverized coal power plants can't easy absorb that pet coke, though new IGCC ( ideal for carbon capture and sequestration) seem to have no problem.

            http://iea-coal.org/...

            Adding any carbon tax would significantly raise the cost
            of running these inefficient,  increasingly obsolete plants.
            $10 per ton of CO2 would raise the cost of fuel by 10%.
            The public prefers clean energy so I don't think management
            is going to hang onto these dinosaurs.

            •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
              IEA says that existing pulverized coal power plants can't easy absorb that pet coke, though new IGCC ( ideal for carbon capture and sequestration) seem to have no problem.
              The reason is the typically high sulfur content of petcoke (about 4%), and the higher GHG emissions of petcoke compared to coal isn't very desirable if an electric utility is trying to reduce GHG emissions.

              Petcoke also contains significant amounts of vanadium.   The presence of vanadium in process flue gas is undesireable in a power plant controlled with an electrostatic precipitator (that also does not have an SO2 scrubber) because vanadium rapidly surface-media catalyzes the oxidation of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid which isn't what you want in the discharge stack.

              In an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant, petcoke is still an issue because the high sulfur content will increase the sulfur recovery unit duty of the unit.   IGCC plants do have an important advantage over conventional pulverized coal power plants in that waste management of the metals in the process (with the exception of mercury) leads to a glassine, vitrified waste product that does not generate metal toxicants as fine particles out of a stack.

              •  Sulfur is is not that hard to remove and (0+ / 0-)

                wasn't an issue according to my link at the Tampa IGCC power station which burns 100% petcoke.
                I think the US produces about 60 million tons of refinery petcoke today and major increases thanks to the ridiculously hyped North American Energy Revolution is a big headache.

                I think that if the oil companies agree to sequester the CO2
                emissions of their oil refineries they should get to process
                tar sands after all they can then burn their petcoke in IGCC units and sequester it all in their old oil and gas fields.

                •  It is a question of design.....it is achieving a (0+ / 0-)

                  balance between you fuel sulfur inputs vs. the ability of your H2S absorber tower to sweep the syngas for H2S and the ability of the Claus plant and any talil gas treatment to clean in up.  

                  Gasification of petcoke is being pursued.  I seem to remember that there were proposed big petcoke gasification projects at the ExxonMobil Baytown refinery and at another location in St. Charles, LA.

      •  The legislation is already in place (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Losty, LinSea

        ...for regulation.

        A carbon tax requires realistic legislation.  These days that is an oxymoron.

        It also makes some assumptions about corporate behavior in response to the tax that might not be accurate.  With regulations you know what corporations will do because you specify what they must do.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 04:39:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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