The CPP or an ACE in the hole

ACE rule can only dig us into a deeper hole

Editorial of the Morgantown Dominion Post, Sunday, June 23, 2019

Call it a policy of diminishing returns or retreats from a worsening climate crisis. We’re never going to sway the Trump administration on its decision to short circuit the Clean Power Plan. But technological trends and markets might, not to mention the power sector continuing to decarbonize faster than expected.

Yet, last week the Trump administration finalized its so-called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

Our first question to those who put politics and self-interest above competitive markets is: How can we ever expect to win a war against the primary laws of economics? You know, if there’s a demand, someone will provide the supply, as long as the incentives are high enough.

And why even if Longview Power’s president and CEO, that operates the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired plant in the world, according to him, says it’s probably the last of its kind why think otherwise Especially when he tells you next thing that’s why Longview is developing an advanced gas-fired combine cycle plant beside its coal plant.

Finally, why would you ignore gains, that by some estimates show our country is already anywhere from a third to two-thirds of the way to meeting the Clean Power Plan’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030?

After all, aren’t happy days here again for the economy, despite the nation’s utilities already having drastically lowered emissions.

Most have no delusions about coal ever reaching the production numbers of the past and the outlook for this industry here and nationwide is uncertain, at best; grim, at worst.

Though some maintain you dance with the one that brought you, natural gas ditched coal more than a decade ago. More exactly, the advent of fracking around 2008 was to natural gas production what Elvis was to rock ’n’ roll.

But that was hardly the only front where the “war on coal” was waged. Increased use of renewables; heightened energy efficiencies; volatile international markets; and the depletion of thick, easy-to-mine seams all followed.

The decline in the coal industry is relentless, and though this decline may be slow and drawn out it’s just a matter of how low must it go. We reject any efforts, and hope courts do too, to roll back carbon restrictions, especially with the concerns about the amount of methane in the atmosphere.

Our country and our planet has a lot to lose, including our health, if we fail to address climate change. Rewrite the rules however you want, but any notion of coal’s resurgence is contrary to the way markets work and technology advances.

The ACE is certainly no ace in the hole for the coal industry. Indeed, it can only dig it and us into an even deeper one — at our own peril.

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Methane is increasing dramatically in the atmosphere

Methane and Other Hydrocarbons are Leaking Big Time into the Atmosphere

From the CLEAN AIR COUNCIL on June 22, 2019

Dear Friends of the Earth’s Environment:

Senator Bob Casey has opposed the Trump Administration’s dangerous proposed modification to standards that reduce methane pollution from oil and gas operations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by fossil fuel lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, is about to propose the complete elimination of methane controls from these standards.

Senator Casey and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet wrote to EPA in December, “As the Senators from two states with robust standards to reduce methane emissions, we are concerned that more children will breathe harmful air pollution as a result of the rollbacks you are recommending.

In addition, our states may have to impose additional measures in order to adhere to EPA’s ozone standards due to methane pollution coming into Colorado and Pennsylvania from other states without similar methane standards.”

Please ask your U.S. Representative to join Senator Casey in this effort to preserve strong methane leakage standards before the Trump Administration publishes its proposed rulemaking.

Methane leaks occur at every step along the oil and gas supply chain.

When methane leaks, it is accompanied by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include known carcinogens and also contribute to ground-level ozone (the main constituent of smog).

Routine, comprehensive inspections are key to detecting and reducing harmful emissions.

Methane is the main component of natural gas and is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming our planet over a twenty-year timeline.

Scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in their latest report that the world only has 11 years to cut greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, by 45% to avoid catastrophic climate change.

We thank Senator Bob Casey for working to improve air quality and ask your U.S. Representative to do the same.

Sincerely, Joseph Otis Minott, Esq.
Executive Director and Chief Counsel
Clean Air Council, Philadelphia, PA


See Also: The Natural Gas Industry Has a Methane Problem | NRDC, June 7, 2019

Oil and gas operations leak this potent greenhouse gas far more than previously thought, and (par for the course) the Trump administration is making the situation worse.


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