Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Despite strong state opposition, Kentucky already on the verge of complying with proposed CO2 rules

Despite strong opposition in Kentucky to proposed rules to cut the state's carbon-dioxide emissions by 15 percent by 2020 and 18 percent by 2030, based on 2012 levels, the state is on the verge of complying with the rules—without meaning to, Naveena Sadasivam reports for InsideClimate News.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has declared the rules part of the "war on coal," and Kentucky joined a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over the rule. Lawmakers also "passed a bill to exempt the state from submitting a plan to meet the proposed air regulations that work against coal," Sadasivam writes. If Kentucky doesn't submit a plan or submits one that isn't acceptable, EPA will just create one for the state.

Cheap natural gas is flooding the market, coal is becoming unprofitable in some regions and coal companies are leaving Central Appalachia for the West, where they can produce at a lower cost. As a result, more than 25 percent of coal-fired plants in Kentucky have already shut down or are expected to shut down in the next two years, Sadasivam writes. "With the announced retirements alone, Kentucky will reach the EPA's goal, energy analysts and state officials believe."

As of 2012, Kentucky "had almost 18,000 MW of coal-fired power from 19 plants," Sadasivam writes. "Of that, 3,900 MW has already been retired or has been scheduled for retirement in the next two years. According to a compliance tool created by M.J. Bradley, the environmental consulting firm, the emissions associated with those shutdowns alone are more than sufficient to meet the EPA's targets." (Read more) (InsideClimate News graphic)

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