A Mixed Verdict on NSR Enforcement?

Earlier this week, the jury reached a verdict in the Cinergy – now Duke Energy – NSR retrial. The short version is simple:

Condensor retubine – no need to go through NSR

Pulverizor replacement – requires NSR

I don’t know all of the details of the case.  For example, I don’t know if the pulverizer capacity was expanded when they were replaced.  If any readers know the details and want to share them, I’d be grateful.

The decision does call to mind a previous post, in which I suggested that environmentalists might trade elimination of the NSR program for a requirement that all existing facilities comply with NSPS by a date certain. If instead of the current NSR program, the CAA had been amended in 1977 to give existing facilities until 2002 – 25 years – to be as clean as new facilities, there would have been howls of outrage at the time from the environmental community, but today we would be in a much better place.  Although the same howls would be heard today, shouldn’t it be possible to reach a deal, particularly given the pressure old facilities will be under as a result of a cap-and-trade program, that would eliminate NSR in return for a date certain by which existing facilities have to be clean as new?  It might be 15 years later than if the deal had been struck in 1977, but that doesn’t mean it would be a bad idea now.

BTW, for a cogent economic analysis of this issue, take a look at my friend Rob Stavins’ post from a few weeks ago.  I’m tempted to say great minds thing alike, but perhaps I’ll just go with a great mind thinks alike.

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