Controversial EPA Reg Finally Poised to Appear in Federal Register

Georgia Power's coal-fired steam-turbine electric generating Plant Bowen in Euharlee, Georgia, about 40 miles northwest of Atlanta is seen from a commercial airliner on September 12, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Clare Foran
Jan. 7, 2014, 12:06 p.m.

En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­trat­or Gina Mc­Carthy de­b­uted a draft pro­pos­al for car­bon emis­sions lim­its set by the agency for new power plants in Septem­ber. But the rule won’t be pub­lished in the Fed­er­al Re­gister un­til Wed­nes­day, show­ing up in the of­fi­cial re­cord a little over three months after it was first un­veiled.

The rule, which would set new source per­form­ance stand­ards for yet-to-be-con­struc­ted power plants is one of the cent­ral pil­lars of the pres­id­ent’s cli­mate-change agenda, second in im­port­ance only to an agency rule­mak­ing for ex­ist­ing plants due out next sum­mer.

Pub­lic­a­tion of the rule in the Fed­er­al Re­gister is sig­ni­fic­ant be­cause it trig­gers the start of a 60-day pub­lic com­ment peri­od. The agency will also hold a pub­lic hear­ing on the rule later this month in Wash­ing­ton.

Even though the rule has yet to be fi­nal­ized, it has already proven ex­tremely con­tro­ver­sial. En­vir­on­ment­al ad­voc­ates have hailed it as a way for­ward on com­bat­ing cli­mate change, while in­dustry groups say it will deal a deadly blow to the U.S. coal in­dustry.

Laura Shee­han, seni­or vice pres­id­ent of com­mu­nic­a­tions for the coal-in­dustry group, the Amer­ic­an Co­ali­tion for Clean Coal Elec­tri­city, slammed the rule ahead of its pub­lic­a­tion on Tues­day.

“EPA’s New Source Per­form­ance Stand­ards are yet an­oth­er ex­ample of bad en­ergy policy from the Obama White House,” she said, adding, “The rule’s un­achiev­able re­quire­ments will take re­li­able, af­ford­able coal-fueled elec­tri­city out of our fu­ture en­ergy equa­tion.”

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