Continuing the recent CAIR discussion, here’s a good interview with Jeffrey Holmstead, the former EPA air chief and a primary author of CAIR. In the interview, he talks about how Congress and the EPA should be acting on the decision and the possibility of a settlement or quick legislative remedy.
Holmstead raises an interesting point: Those who challenged CAIR generally agreed with the overall premise and just wanted small tweaks in their favor. Holmstead states: “But the other thing that’s just curious about the ruling is it doesn't make anybody happy. If you look at all of the groups that challenged the rule, each of them had a small issue with CAIR and they were expecting or hoping that the court would fix their issue but leave CAIR alone.” Now that CAIR has been overturned – in the absence of a legislative or legal “quick fix” – we likely face more aggressive NOx regulations. Be careful what you wish for.
You might think the same thing about the vacating of CAMR. The existing mercury regulations we now default to are far more onerous and costly than what was required by CAMR, and do not allow for trading mercury allowances. But those who challenged CAMR wanted it vacated on the grounds that mercury is a local toxin and not something that should be traded like a commodity. While the environmental groups that prevailed in this ruling got what they wished for, the costs to the industry will be enormous.
Addressing CAIR-related emissions reductions
Recognizing that Congress must quickly pass legislation to restore emissions reductions, on July 29th the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held a hearing entitled, “EPA’s Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR): Recent Court Decision and Its Implications.”
In Bob McIlvaine’s recent “Utility E-Alert,” he reported that Chris Korleski said that states’ obligations to achieve the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter promulgated by the EPA remain in place. Korleski, who is Director of the Ohio EPA, urged Congress to address the loss of emissions reductions guaranteed by CAIR “by a surgical, laser-like, amendment to Section 110.” Korleski proposed a new Section 110(a)(2)(E) to the Clean Air Act that would directly address the legal issues cited by the US Court of Appeals in vacating the EPA Rule.
For those of you attending Coal-Gen next week, I’ll be serving on a panel about CAIR: The CAIR Ruling: A Briefing on Implications and Next Steps. See you at Coal-Gen!