Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing a rule requiring stringent emissions standards for new or existing coal fired power plants, until Carbon Capture Sequestration (CCS) technology is deemed economically and technically feasible.
"This preliminary EPA rule could literally cripple the future of coal because the implementation of carbon capture is not yet technologically or economically feasible," said Rep. McKinley. "Utilities will simply stop building coal fired power plants and switch to gas fired units."
"That would result in the loss of thousands of good paying coal jobs," said Rep. McKinley. "
Although the concept of the carbon capture process is a reasonable, long-term goal, the proposed standards are simply unattainable at this time. The Obama Administration has admitted this," said Rep. McKinley.
When the EPA released the new standards in March, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson admitted that carbon capture was not yet viable on a large scale. In an earlier report, the EPA had written, "While [carbon capture] is a promising technology, EPA does not believe that at this time [carbon capture] will be a technically feasible option." However, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson predicted that the technology could be "commercially available within the next 10 years."
This echoes what industry leaders have been saying since the rule was announced. At a recent hearing, Thomas Farrell, CEO of Dominion, stated, "As you know, there is currently no demonstrated, commercially available carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that can be installed on a coal plant to comply with this standard. The adoption of EPA's proposed standard will lead, in our view, to an undesirable national policy: abandoning coal, one of our most abundant natural resources."
"It's unfair for the EPA to hold one energy source to a standard that they admit is unrealistic," McKinley added. "We need to give the technology and research time to catch up before imposing this new requirement."
Therefore, McKinley's legislation would prohibit the EPA from implementing the rule until three of four agencies conclude that carbon capture has become technologically and economically feasible. Those groups include the National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE); the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the Government Accountability Office (GAO); and the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This bipartisan bill was introduced with nine co-sponsors including five Democrats.