Governor Matt Mead has questioned the proposed rule of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would require new coal-fired power plants to install unproven and costly carbon capture and sequestration technologies. The EPA proposal is the first of its kind, establishing greenhouse gas emission limits from the power sector. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Governor Mead expressed his concerns that EPA's proposal is not legally, technologically, or economically justified. Wyoming is the leading coal supplier to the United States, and this proposal could adversely impact Wyoming's economy.
"Coal is the largest source of power in the United States. It is abundant and affordable. I believe we need to work cooperatively to innovate and make sure coal is a part of our future. This regulation will stifle innovation and increase power costs," Governor Mead said. "The industry needs to be profitable to make investments in research and development. We can reduce emissions and have a strong coal industry, but this proposal will not help America make those advancements."
Governor Mead points out that carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies have not been proven on a commercial scale. The coal plants considering the technology and the only one under construction have experienced billions in cost overruns and timing delays. In reviewing EPA's proposal, the federal Office of Management and Budget cautioned the EPA that carbon capture and sequestration technology has not been demonstrated on a commercial scale. The EPA cannot rely on literature reviews, pilot projects and commercial facilities yet to operate as a basis for finding that CCS is adequately demonstrated.
The EPA's proposal also creates uncertainty for utilities making long-term investment decisions, with substantial amounts of ratepayer dollars.
"Over the past 40 years, the EPA has developed measured rules to improve air quality; however, in recent years pressure from the EPA is not measured. It is unrelenting and often unachievable in terms of timing, cost and technology. We must work together and arrive at realistic solutions that account for the time and resources it takes to comply with new regulations and allow profitability," Governor Mead said.
Governor Mead understands the need to develop proven technologies to reduce carbon emissions. This year he asked for and received $15 million from the Wyoming Legislature to build an Integrated Test Center to develop and test technologies that will create beneficial uses for CO2 captured from coal-fired power plants.
"Wyoming is committed to ensuring the long-term viability of fossil fuel resources. Technologies to capture CO2 and process it into value-added products are in early stages. Wyoming is putting resources toward further developing these technologies to provide real world solutions." Governor Mead said. "The EPA should do likewise and start by scuttling this proposal."