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Herring calls for court review of EPA Clean Power Plan repeal

Source: 
Daily Press

Aug. 13--Attorney General Mark Herring is teaming up with counterparts from 21 other states,Washington D.C. and some of the nation's biggest cities to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan.-- the 2015 regulation that would, for the first time, limit carbon emissions from power plants.

The group asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to rule on whether the EPA's replacement, called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, violates the federal Clean Air Act.

Herring said the new rule ignores the impact carbon emissions from power plants have on global warming.

"Virginia is particularly susceptible to the devastating effects of climate change and sea level rise, especially in Hampton Roads where the region is facing billions of dollars in infrastructure and coastal resiliency measures over the next few decades," he said.

Herring said he's concerned because the new rule barely mentions climate change.

"The Trump Administration has made no attempts to even pretend like they are concerned about climate change in our country and this replacement of the Clean Power Plan makes that painfully obvious," Herring said.

He believes the rule doesn't comply with Clean Air Act requirements that EPA limits on pollutants should be based on the best system of emission reduction, which he believes means shifting from from coal-fueled generation to a less carbon-intensive generation. The new rule, for instance, bars states from participating in cap and trade programs, which Herring argues are one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of reducing pollution from power plants.

The EPA says its rule focuses on clean air standards aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. The agency says improving the efficiency of coal fired plants, as measured by the amount fuel required to produce a unit of electricity, is the best way of reducing emissions. It is promoting six "candidate technologies" for power plants: intelligent sootblowers, boiler feed pumps, heater and duct leakage control, devices that use frequency or voltage to adjust the speed at which generators turn, adjutsments to the steam turbines in power plants and replacing the devices that capture waste heat from power-plant smokestacks.

Herring noted that those approaches would reduce emissions by only 0.7 percent more by 2030 than if no rule existed, according to the EPA's own analysis. The EPA also found that emissions of at least of three pollutants -- carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide -- will increase in 18 states in 2030.

Dave Ress, 757-247-4535, dress@dailypress.com

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