When EPA’s NSPS Rule for GHGs was published in the Federal Register last week, I noted that the rule might be on shaky ground, because an EPA Science Advisory Board work group had questioned the basis for EPA’s decision that carbon capture and storage is feasible technology. Now it turns out that EPA has provided the work group with some additional information and the work group issued a memorandum last week stating that further review by the SAB is not required. The work group concluded that “the agency is using the best available science and has conducted peer review at a level required by agency guidance.”
It is interesting that the work group also notes “that the proposed rule estimates a limited number of newly constructed coal-fired power plants in the future.” In other words, the rule doesn’t matter much, because there won’t be many – if any – new coal-fired power plants built?
SAB support is critical in judicial review, so EPA’s legal prospects have clearly improved, but I’m still skeptical. It may be unlikely that new coal-fired power plants are going to be built in the US, but it seems even less likely that CCS will ever really be an available technology for control of GHGs from such facilities.