L-R: Steve Dietrich, Administrator, Air Quality Division, Department of Environmental Quality; Dan Byers, senior director for policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy ; Tim Rogers, environmental manager, Black Hills Corp
New regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants are due out at the beginning of next month and industry is warning that they could have a devastating impact on the economy.
Speaking at the Wyoming Business Report’s Energy Summit in Casper, Dan Byers, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the cost of the regulations will likely significantly outweigh the climate benefits, pointing out that developing nations are emitting more than ever. Byers says he’s skeptical of how the Environmental Protection Agency will calculate cost-benefit.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s permitting team will now have another pollutant to consider when writing permits: greenhouse gases.
The Environmental Protection Agency handed over its authority for greenhouse gas permitting to the state of Wyoming on December 23rd. D-E-Q’s Cole Anderson says his department will add pollutants like methane and carbon dioxide to the list of contaminants it reviews.
Government estimates of methane emissions from the Rocky Mountain region might be low.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that’s produced by agriculture, natural gas drilling and coal mining, among other things. Knowing how much of it is being released is important because of its potential effects on climate.
The Sierra Club and Wild Earth Guardians are suing the federal government over planned coal leases in the Powder River Basin.
The BLM has approved the sale of four new coal leases in the area, which could produce up to two billion tons of coal. The Sierra Club’s Connie Wilbert says her group worries about the greenhouse gas emissions that could result from the additional mining and subsequent use of the coal.