EPA’s rules may force power failures

posted at 7:35 pm on September 6, 2011 by Tina Korbe

It was easy last week, when President Obama scrubbed an expensive proposed environmental regulation, to wonder whether the world had turned right side up. Without doubt, Obama made the wise decision when it came to proposed new ozone regulations. As Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor today, the president created more jobs by reversing one regulation than he ever will with a speech. But as I wrote this weekend, only if Republicans continue to hammer away at other job-killing regulations will this have been a first step worth celebrating — otherwise, it’s just a chance for Obama to tout a job-creation gesture and a supposed spirit of compromise.

May I humbly suggest one such regulation to next spotlight for elimination? The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, when combined with another proposed regulation (the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology or “Utility MACT” rule), will cost the country $17.8 billion a year and put 175,000 jobs at risk each year, as well. Now, that’s nowhere near as expensive as the proposed ozone regulations — which would have cost the country up to $90 billion a year, with as many as 7.3 million jobs lost by 2020 — but I’d say 175,000 newly employed is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, the two regulations would increase electricity rates by more than 23 percent in some areas of the United States that rely on coal for electricity. In addition, consumers will be paying more than $8 billion a year in higher natural gas prices because of these proposed rules.

But just in case you’re still not sold that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule ought to be repealed before it takes effect Jan. 1, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas provides another reason (ERCOT released this information Friday — the same day Obama announced his reversal of the ozone regs):

Rolling blackouts will be much more likely in Texas next summer should new Environmental Protection Agency rules go into effect on Jan. 1 as planned, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s main electric grid manager.

The rules, which industry says caught it by surprise when they were unveiled in July, could lead to the shuttering of as much as 1,400 megawatts of coal-fired power plants capacity in Texas during the summer and up to 6,000 megawatts during other times of the year, according to the study by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

ERCOT has declared power emergencies several times this summer as record demand met unplanned power plant outages. Plant operators say the long, hot summer has meant more wear-and-tear due to longer operating hours for power plants.

Predictably, the EPA dismissed the ERCOT study, saying the state of Texas could find a way to meet the requirements of the new rule “without threatening electricity reliability or the continued operation of coal-burning units.” But agency representatives didn’t bother to substantiate that claim.

It’s not as though coal companies don’t want to do their part to help the environment. Consider this statement from Steve Miller, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity: “The EPA is ignoring the cumulative economic damage new regulations will cause. America’s coal-fueled electric industry has been doing its part for the environment and the economy, but our industry needs adequate time to install clean coal technologies to comply with new regulations. Unfortunately, EPA doesn’t seem to care.”

In other words, energy companies would appreciate at the very least a more sensible, economically sensitive timeline. No doubt the president senses this. Politically speaking, the president has to show he’s serious about jobs and one way to do that is to abandon the ideologically-driven regulations that threaten whatever anemic recovery the nation has experienced. But he probably won’t stay on the anti-regulation bandwagon for long, as that might cost him among one of his own constituencies. Kevin Book and Chase Hutto, principals in the energy policy consulting firm Clearview Energy Partners, probably predicted accurately when they wrote: “For a president pinned between a green base and an anemic recovery, the best political outcome may be for the White House to stand behind EPA rules as either Congress or the Courts intervenes to delay them.”


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Tina broke Hot Air again!

carbon_footprint on September 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Oh Tina. You dun broke Hotair again. . .

thphilli on September 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM

That’s what makes Tina so special. :)

Blake on September 6, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Might be a good idea to shrink that picture a bit… it’s bleeding over into the right-hand column.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Oops! Sorry to pile on.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Tina broke Hot Air again!

carbon_footprint on September 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

So I’m not the only one with the picture taking up half the screen? I thought there might be something wrong with my browser.

ramrants on September 6, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Issues with the accompanying picture aside, good article.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Send tents, and all the enviro whackos to Texas next Summer. Free camping, no electricity for 4 months. June to October. They’ll be begging by the end of the first week, for electricity, and air conditioning.

capejasmine on September 6, 2011 at 7:42 PM

(((Hugs))) to Tina!!!

capejasmine on September 6, 2011 at 7:43 PM

They’ll be begging by the end of the first week, for electricity, and air conditioning.

capejasmine on September 6, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Next summer, if the heat is as bad as it was this summer, they would be begging by the middle of the first day.

carbon_footprint on September 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

You know what blackouts lead to….BABIES!

Blake on September 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

What problems are these news rules supposed to solve?

Is it worth a further hobbling of the economy?

Chip on September 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Tina, Your attention getting use of big pictures is getting old./

portlandon on September 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

You know what blackouts lead to….BABIES!

Blake on September 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Not when it’s 104 degrees outside.

ramrants on September 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

… abandon the ideologically-driven regulations that threaten whatever anemic recovery the nation has experienced.

Well, The Won is the smartest POTUS ever, so maybe…..

/

Seriously, if he allows regs to pass that will cause some of our power plants to shut down here…and a bunch of people freeze in the winter and burn up in the summer, right before the election…a fool and the people’s White House are soon parted.

tkinTX on September 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM

You know what blackouts lead to….BABIES!
Blake on September 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

NOT when you’re sweatin like a hog in 110 degree weather and about to pass out. This isn’t the northeast.

atxcowgirl on September 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM

You know what blackouts lead to….BABIES!

Blake on September 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Not if you’ve passed out from the heat.

tkinTX on September 6, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Abundant electrical power is just one more example of America’s arrogant unwillingness to become a Third World nation.

Cicero43 on September 6, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Tina “Gets the big picture” Korbe

Your mob name is secure.

Weight of Glory on September 6, 2011 at 7:54 PM

OK.. I’m getting the BIG picture. Thanks

Tropical Igloo on September 6, 2011 at 7:55 PM

So I’m not the only one with the picture taking up half the screen? I thought there might be something wrong with my browser.

ramrants on September 6, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Hey, she’s just saying that its a really big problem, just like the picture.

And the day that the electricity goes out because of a government mandate is the day that the government is going to get its ass handed to it.

People are madder than a wet hen that the electricity went out because of a storm.

Can you imagine if it went out because the environazis were throwing the switch?

Oh, please let them try it.

turfmann on September 6, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Predictably, the EPA dismissed the ERCOT study, saying the state of Texas could find a way to meet the requirements of the new rule “without threatening electricity reliability or the continued operation of coal-burning units.”

So say “the experts” who have never generated a volt of electricity, ran a company for profit, or had to meet a payroll.

GarandFan on September 6, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Now if we were talking about rolling blackouts in states that might support Obama (like California, Mexico, or New York), then he might try to kill this.

MeatHeadinCA on September 6, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Predictably, the EPA dismissed the ERCOT study, saying the state of Texas could find a way to meet the requirements of the new rule “without threatening electricity reliability or the continued operation of coal-burning units.” But agency representatives didn’t bother to substantiate that claim.

Typical big government attitude. As C.S. Lewis said, “they make geldings only to command them to be fruitful and multiply.”

Weight of Glory on September 6, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Here’s the deal.

If the EPA’s “findings” stand as they are now, we WILL have power failures; probably disguised as “environmental moments” or some such bullshit.

We WILL have power failures; we will have a national repeat of GrayOut Davis’ idiotic California policies; in other words: ROLLING BLACKOUTS.

For a President of the United States of America to pretend to care about jobs and keep a nightmarish regulatory scheme in place is to deny reality.

Ojesus does not care about jobs.

Period.

Otherwise, he would be creating a job-friendly environment; instead, he is creating a class warfare environment.

It is sickening.

There is no respect deserved for the Office if you abuse the Office.

Don’t try that tired tirade, Dems. Ojesus has disrespected his Office and deserves to be impeached under several Articles. He has SHAT upon our Constitution, Congress, and you have let him.

Shame on you all.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Tina “Gets the big picture” Korbe

Your mob name is secure.

Weight of Glory on September 6, 2011 at 7:54 PM

I suggest we call her “two times”, just like in Goodfellas. And its a good alliteration, too.

Tina Two Times

Her pictures are two times normal.

How come we can’t get her portrait at two times normal size?

turfmann on September 6, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Rolling blackouts will be much more likely in Texas next summer should new Environmental Protection Agency rules go into effect on Jan. 1 as planned, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s main electric grid manager

RACIST!

SouthernGent on September 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Gee, I’d hate for the continued survival of the human race to depend on some of you wimps!

Blake on September 6, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Obama will continue his attempt to destroy Texas.

GaltBlvnAtty on September 6, 2011 at 8:02 PM

picture fixed..

Jazz Shaw on September 6, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Tina, your performance art in your postings is greatly appreciated.

carbon_footprint on September 6, 2011 at 8:04 PM

What problems are these news rules supposed to solve?

Is it worth a further hobbling of the economy?

Chip on September 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

It is to protect the Smallpenised Nutscratcher. You do want to protect the Smallpenised Nutscratcher don’t you? It is the department endangered bird of the EPA.

BL@KBIRD on September 6, 2011 at 8:04 PM

He has SHAT upon our Constitution, Congress, and you have let him.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 7:58 PM

This is the point that can’t be stressed enough, the entire Democrat party is responsible for the current state of the nation and it started in 2007.

whbates on September 6, 2011 at 8:04 PM

There is no respect deserved for the Office if you abuse the Office.

That was horrible. Let me try again.

There is no inherent respect for the holder of the office if you abuse the office.

The office is deserving of respect. The holder of the office must earn it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Better.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Don’t worry too much about rolling blackouts. There’s another problem looming that few understand. The more plants we retire without adequate replacement the less reserve we have. That just puts us closer to a massive cascading blackout that will take out large areas. This will happen at the worst possible time, when the load is at it’s peak, either cold winter or hot summer. It’s coming.

Oldnuke on September 6, 2011 at 8:06 PM

“Prepared for: American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.”

A totally unbiased source of information on environmental issues!

Constantine on September 6, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Not when it’s 104 degrees outside.

ramrants on September 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Only 104? It hit 112 a couple of times in Dallas this year. Other parts of the state had it even worse.

stvnscott on September 6, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Obama said he would bring change. We just didn’t think that would mean going back one hundred years.

carbon_footprint on September 6, 2011 at 8:10 PM

…we will have a national repeat of GrayOut Davis’ idiotic California policies; in other words: ROLLING BLACKOUTS.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 7:58 PM

As turfmann said above:

Oh, please let them try it.

turfmann on September 6, 2011 at 7:56 PM

We Californians got mad enough — even the Democrats (who are a clear majority) — to recall Gov. Davis because of that (and other reasons. Here’s a collection of relevant posts on Free Republic.

Too bad there’s no Constitutional provision to recall a U.S. President, but voting him out next year will do pretty well.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Only 104? It hit 112 a couple of times in Dallas this year. Other parts of the state had it even worse.

stvnscott on September 6, 2011 at 8:09 PM

And it hit 112 a couple of times here in Central Texas as well. I would have to say the average temp. from June to Sept. was 106 degrees.

carbon_footprint on September 6, 2011 at 8:11 PM

What problems are these news rules supposed to solve?

Is it worth a further hobbling of the economy?

Chip on September 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

EPA rules and regulations are not for solving problems, they are for controlling the populace.

Take their new rules and stick them in a new place.

darwin-t on September 6, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Anyone who thinks I’m over-hyping the situation is welcome to disagree, or to vote (D).

But the hell of it is, I’m right.

Most of the country already realizes this, but doesn’t know exactly what to do about it.

Here’s a start:

Clean house. Get rid of the serial liars.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Only 104? It hit 112 a couple of times in Dallas this year. Other parts of the state had it even worse.

stvnscott on September 6, 2011 at 8:09 PM

It averaged 104 most of August here in H-town.

ramrants on September 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

EPA rules and regulations are not for solving problems, they are for controlling the populace.

Take their new rules and stick them in a new place.

darwin-t on September 6, 2011 at 8:11 PM

What better excuse so the “government” can then take over non-compliant plants?

marinetbryant on September 6, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Google, Bing, Yahoo, or ever how you search, what is coming down the pike concerning electricity production and what the new and improved Ojesus EPA findings are going to do to your electric bill over the next five years.

I dare you.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 8:24 PM

What better excuse so the “government” can then take over non-compliant plants?

marinetbryant on September 6, 2011 at 8:20 PM

What are they going to do? Bring in troops to seize the operating systems of these power plants? Not going to happen.

darwin-t on September 6, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Oh, the rule is fine as long as the generating state is red and the down wind state is blue.

burt on September 6, 2011 at 8:26 PM

This will happen at the worst possible time, when the load is at it’s peak, either cold winter or hot summer. It’s coming.

Oldnuke on September 6, 2011 at 8:06 PM

The sad thing is that people really have no clue, but your right.

whbates on September 6, 2011 at 8:27 PM

ramrants on September 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

“August’s average daytime high for Houston is typically 93.5 degrees. The city exceeded that value every day this month except for this past Monday (8/29) and Tuesday (8/30), when scattered showers kept a lid on temperatures.”

Heat index was a real bitch. And the ducks that live in my subdivision are running out of lake water in which to quack and frolic.

tkinTX on September 6, 2011 at 8:28 PM

What are they going to do? Bring in troops to seize the operating systems of these power plants? Not going to happen.

darwin-t on September 6, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Would not surprise me if the 0 did try!

marinetbryant on September 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM

The sad thing is that people really have no clue, but your you’re right.

whbates on September 6, 2011 at 8:27 PM

sorry

whbates on September 6, 2011 at 8:31 PM

What are they going to do? Bring in troops to seize the operating systems of these power plants? Not going to happen.

darwin-t on September 6, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Would not surprise me if the 0 did try!

marinetbryant on September 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Nor me. Since the end of 2008 I’ve seen a lot of things happen that I never thought I would see in this country. Every time I pass a derelict car dealership, I curse Obama’s name under my breath.

I believe there is nothing he wouldn’t try. Look for all kinds of unprecedented dirty tricks in the runup to the next election (if we have one). I’ve signed up to be a poll worker, so I can do my bit to help prevent shenanigans, but of course I can only work one polling place, and fortunately for me, my neighborhood is probably not high on the list of SEIU targets.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 8:37 PM

sorry

whbates on September 6, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Heh, I understood what you meant. No problem I’m not a spelling or grammar Nazi.

Oldnuke on September 6, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Would not surprise me if the 0 did try!

marinetbryant on September 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM

What possible good would that do? Do you think “The troops” would be able to operate the plants or even understand what was happening? The only result of “The troops” taking control would be widespread blackouts happening sooner and lasting longer.

Oldnuke on September 6, 2011 at 8:42 PM

DOTUS…….since the day after he election when he had his own President-Elect seal.

PappyD61 on September 6, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Tell the EPA to go screw themselves, and ignore the rules.

Ward Cleaver on September 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Do you think “The troops” would be able to operate the plants or even understand what was happening?

Oldnuke on September 6, 2011 at 8:42 PM

No, but they could be ordered to hold the operators at gunpoint…

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Would not surprise me if the 0 did try!

marinetbryant on September 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM

What possible good would that do? Do you think “The troops” would be able to operate the plants or even understand what was happening? The only result of “The troops” taking control would be widespread blackouts happening sooner and lasting longer.

Oldnuke on September 6, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Of course they couldn’t, but that’s not the point. The point with little Bammie and the progs is the government takeover, not whether it’s efficient or workable. Socialism is never efficient.

slickwillie2001 on September 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

…President-Elect seal.

PappyD61 on September 6, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I never, never want to see that again.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Obama will blame the Texas blackouts his regulations cause next year on Perry and the MSM will let the claim go unchallenged; just as he has blamed the failure to ratify free trade treaties that the Administration has not sent for ratification on the Republicans who do not even control the Senate, cannot vote on the measures until they are presented and would vote for them if they could (likewise the MSM does not challenge this calumny either).

KW64 on September 6, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Trumpet the 173,000 jobs lost, yes, but let’s not forget increased monthly utility costs to consumers! Short and sweet- more unemployed and less money, brought to you by the Obama administration.

MTF on September 6, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Texas needs to make sure they can get the necessary power from plants currently powering California.

It will be a shame when the Californian Eco-terrorists blow up the transmission lines.

Slowburn on September 6, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Ya know who else likes blackouts?

Looters.

orbitalair on September 6, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Best part is that if this comes to pass a lot of folks will be buying portable gasoline or diesel generators, thereby creating far more pollution than the regs were preventing.

I should also add that the anger about the power outages in Connecticut thanks to Irene wasn’t so much about the time it took to get some areas back up (over a week for just a tropical storm, what happens if we get a Cat 1 coming through the SouthEast corner of the state?!?) but that CL&P obviously felt that Litchfield county was far more important than the east half of the state, and by their own admission they had most towns over in the NW down to 10% or less outages while most of the east half was still nearly 100% to 100%. They also couldn’t be bothered to let local public works crews clear downed trees if there were wires, so a lot of dead-end roads were blocked for days. Thankfully no one (that I have heard of) had an emergency where the access issues caused loss of life, but that was just dumb luck.

LibraryGryffon on September 6, 2011 at 10:26 PM

The standards for impeachment are not very difficult, nor are the vote requirements. I invite everyone to study the details and encourage their representatives in both houses to get off their asses and DO something about this marxist cretin in the White House.

rayra on September 7, 2011 at 5:01 AM

So assuming nothing changes, will the Texas utilities actually allow life-threatening blackouts, to occur, or will they uphold their professional standards and act in the best interests of their customers?

GalosGann on September 7, 2011 at 9:23 AM

This may be old news, but I’m surprised that Tina didn’t mention the EPA rules from April 2010 which mandate use of “Best Available Control Technology” to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants emitting more than 250,000 tons/year of CO2, which could be emitted by natural gas with a heating value of about 110 megawatts (MW), when most power plants produce AT LEAST 250 MW.

There is no technology commercially “available” to absorb such enormous quantities (about 130 cubic feet per SECOND at standard conditions) of harmless CO2 from stack gas, so that power companies considering building a new plant simply cancel their plans, not wanting to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on experimental technology which may be unnecessary if a future President rescinds the rule (which has never been made law by Congress).

For now, this “rule” has only prevented power companies from expanding production, but it’s a ticking “time bomb”, since permits for existing power plants will need to be reviewed every 5 years, and more and more plants will be shut down (about half of them AFTER the 2012 election) because CO2 “control technology” would be prohibitive.

As an example, a power company in West Virginia was considering installing new technology to remove 22% of its CO2 emissions, at a capital cost of $760 million (half subsidized by DOE), but eventually backed out of the deal. If this cost is scaled to the entire plant’s emissions, the capital cost would be about $3.5 billion, not to mention the energy cost of compressing the CO2 and the required refrigeration system.

If this “rule” is applied to all the nation’s power plants over the next five years, the capital and energy costs could easily reach into the TRILLIONS, which could either force massive shutdowns and blackouts, or electric bill increases of thousands of dollars per customer, or both.

All this in order to reduce emissions of a harmless gas that green plants need to feed the world, which MIGHT increase the air temperature by a fraction of a degree.

But is anyone listening in the media and the White House?

(crickets)

Steve Z on September 7, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Texans should locate the residences of EPA managers and mau-mau them. Or, at least, point them out to the looters.

It’s only fair.

bloviator on September 7, 2011 at 10:14 AM