EPA Carbon Standard Wins Strong Support

The Environmental Project Agency (EPA) is garnering strong national- and state-level backing from America’s editorial boards when it comes to the federal agency's proposal to upgrade carbon pollution standards for coal-fired power plants.

From such key states states as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, here is the verdict from leading “ed boards”:

  •  Tougher pollution rule, Toledo Blade. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a rule aimed at limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from new coal-fired power plants. That appropriate action is in no way an effort to deny coal-fired power’s role as America’s dominant energy source, as critics allege.
  • PA. Clean power: The EPA raises the bar on future coal-fired plants, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, (editorial), 04/06/12. The coal industry is bound to fight the new regulation, which it says will drive up the cost of energy and cut the demand for coal to the detriment of coal-producing states. The regulation doesn't constitute an all-out ban on future plants but would increase the cost of their operation. If companies want to develop new plants, they would need to use expensive carbon capture and sequestration technology. The rule is a small step, but it goes in the right direction, toward the next generation of cleaner power plants.
  • VA. Coal: Power play, Richmond Times Dispatch. Dominion Virginia Power had planned to reduce its use of coal for electricity generation well before the EPA's announcement of new greenhouse-gas emission limits the other day. What's more, the new rules will apply only to new plants, not existing ones — so Virginians likely will not notice anything different. At least for a while.

The verdict on the new rule and its benefits in terms of protecting the health of Americans is also positive from editorial boards at the national level:

  • New Rules for New Power Plants, New York Times. Power plants account for about 40 percent of America’s global warming emissions — with the bulk of that coming from coal-fired plants. On Tuesday, the Obama administration took another important step for public health and the environment, proposing the first nationwide limits on carbon dioxide from new power plants. If approved, the new limits will accelerate the shift from coal to natural gas and cleaner alternative fuels.
  • Proposed EPA caps make sense, Houston Chronicle. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed its first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants ("EPA pushes historic rules on new power plants," Page A6, Wednesday). As Chronicle reporter Puneet Kollipara wrote, while environmental groups are saying it's about time, industry groups have vowed a fight. With an economy fueled by the energy industry, Houston is especially sensitive to EPA rules, and we're wary of any overbearing regulation. But this new rule is anything but overbearing. It strikes a healthy balance, preventing future construction of the dirtiest coal plants while leaving room for natural gas and carbon-capture coal plants.
  • The EPA’s sensible compromise, Dallas Morning News. This is a sensible compromise between the nation’s immediate energy needs and pressing environmental concerns. Texas produces and consumes more electricity than any other state, and its per capita residential use is significantly higher than the national average. Unfortunately, this tug-of-war too often is portrayed as a false choice between a clean environment and reliable power.
  • A small step forward for Earth, Los Angeles Times. Forbidding new coal plants is a minimal step that is unlikely to have much impact on the energy market because the low price of natural gas is already rendering coal power uncompetitive; new gas-fired plants would meet the proposed EPA standard. To really make a difference, the EPA should crack down on existing coal plants. But during an election year, when short-term economic concerns are trumping long-term ones, we'll take what we can get.
  • Climate change, Salt Lake Tribune.  That’s why it’s important that Salt Lake City is supporting a growing movement among cities to urge President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to invoke the Clean Air Act to place limits on carbon emissions. Voluntary efforts supported by Gov. Gary Herbert are largely meaningless. Federal action under the Clean Air Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court has authorized, is our best hope.

No wonder that the latest polls show that two out of three Americans support the EPA’s effort to crackdown on air pollution!