EPA strikes at heart of N.D. energy
BY LEE COLEMAN
To hear the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tell it, they are doing what is best for America by requiring coal-based power plants to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, or greenhouse gas, by 30 percent by the year 2030.
Restrictions have long been in place to cut the emissions of arsenic and mercury but, until now, carbon dioxide emissions were responsibly controlled by power corporations, not federal mandates. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s announcement on Monday laid the groundwork for new regulations as part of a 645-page document.
In North Dakota, there are seven coal-based power plants including Antelope Valley, Coal Creek, Coyote, Leland Olds, Milton R. Young, B.M. Heskett and Stanton. These plants produced between 2,033 and 3,020 pounds of carbon dioxide between 2007 and 2012 while producing 79 percent of North Dakota electricity in 2013 and 40 percent of national electricity.
The EPA’s plan would force each state to comply with specific restrictions on carbon dioxide. The emission levels announced for North Dakota are 1,817 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour by 2020, and 1,782 pounds by 2030.
The EPA estimates national compliance costs for the regulations will range from $5.4 billion to $7.4 billion annually beginning in 2020. By 2030, the costs could soar to $8.8 billion.