New Clean Air Rules Would Do Little

President Obama's recently proposed regulations to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from new power plants have been much heralded by environmentalists because they would make new coal-fired power plants too costly to operate.

 In truth, they accomplish almost nothing.

These rules would apply to new power plants only. But few new coal-fired power plants or units have been built in recent years because of the low price of natural gas, and few are planned over the next five years, according to the federal Energy Information Agency. Most modern gas-fired electric plants meet the standard the president is proposing, so the rules are irrelevant for them.

To meet these new rules, proposed last month, new coal-fired power plants would have to capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks before it is emitted and then send it by pipeline to a location where it would be pumped underground for long-term isolation. The Environmental Protection Agency says this technology, known as carbon capture and storage, can be made ready for large-scale use. But most experts — including me — would say “not yet,” because it has not been tested at the required scale.

Read full text at The New York Times