EPA Proposal Altered to Favor Coal-Fired Power Plants

On the heels of today’s report that 46 of the top 50 polluters in North America are coal-fired power plants comes this tidbit: A U.S. EPA proposal to curb interstate air pollution was altered by the White House at the last minute in a way that heavily favors, uh, coal-fired power plants. The proposal would establish a pollution credit-trading system for soot and ozone emissions, to be run by the states, similar to the sulfur-dioxide trading system currently in place to reduce acid rain. A section was deleted from the final draft last month by the White House Office of Management and Budget; the seemingly arcane change — switching from the energy output-based system favored by enviros and gas and nuclear-power utilities to an energy input-based system that favors coal-fired utilities — could mean “tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars to large utilities,” says Michael Bradley of the Clean Energy Group, which represents some dozen utilities. Coincidentally, most of the coal-fired power plants that will benefit from the change are located in swing states important in the upcoming presidential election.