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Comments on standards for GHG emissions in stationary sources

Oilfield Technology,

Below are extracts from the letter written by the AFPM and API to the US EPA commenting on Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.

'AFPM and API (collectively, the ‘Associations’) have strong interests in this unprecedented Clean Air Act rulemaking because our members are adversely affected by the proposed rule in several ways. First, higher energy costs and challenges to the reliability of consistent energy supply arising out of the proposed rule’s inappropriate constraints on the utility sector’s choice of fuel and design will injure the members of both organisations. Petroleum refineries are the nation’s second highest industrial consumer of energy. Thus, in order to provide the nation critical fuels, petroleum products, and chemicals in a cost effective manner, access to reliable and affordable energy is critical. Furthermore, some of the Associations’ members own, operate or will construct or modify sources that may be considered to be electric generating units (EGUs) within the meaning of this proposed rule.

'Second, the Associations’ members produce petroleum coke (petcoke) as a coproduct in the petroleum refining process. Petcoke is a valuable product that has a number of industrial applications, including energy production, and EPA is proposing to subject petcoke fired EGUs to the same standards as coal fired EGUs. As the primary producers of petcoke, the Associations have a substantial and direct interest in EPA regulations that will dramatically alter demand for, and ultimately the viability of, the petcoke for energy production.

'Third, the Associations have a significant interest in the proposed rule because EPA has entered into a settlement agreement, like the one that resulted in this proposed rule, concerning the regulation of GHG emissions from the refinery sector under the Clean Air Act’s new Source Performance Standard (NSPS) provisions…from the standpoint of regulating GHGs, utilities are more dissimilar to manufacturing and energy development sectors such as refineries and oil and gas development than they are similar. Nevertheless, we remain concerned that EPA could rely in part on this rulemaking in the event that it proceeds with GHG NSPS for other source categories.'

Specific Association comments

  • EPA appropriately withdrew the 2012 proposal, but must officially rescind it.
  • EPA is not legally compelled to proceed with the proposed rule; it should withdraw the proposed rule and, at most, proceed by advanced notice of proposed rulemaking.
  • EPA cannot proceed because it has not made a significant contribution endangerment determination for GHGs from the regulated source categories.
  • EPA cannot use Section 111 to regulate fuel choice with the practical consequence of regulating one type of fuel and design out of existence.
  • CCS is not adequately demonstrated and therefore is not BSER for GHG emissions from coal fired EGUs.
  • EPA inappropriately relies on facilities that have received funding under the EPAct of 2005.
  • EPA fails to fully consider whether geologic storage of CO2 is legally, economically, and technically feasible.
  • EPA mischaracterises and overstates the technology forcing nature of the NSPS provisions.
  • EPA’s conclusions that the costs of CCS are reasonable are contrary to the record.
  • EPA’s inclusion of simple cycle turbines is arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.
  • EPA’s inclusion of industrial, commercial and institutional combined heat and power units is arbitrary and capricious.
  • EPA’s approach to modified and reconstructed sources is inconsistent with the Clean Air Act.
  • EPA has failed to engage in a meaningful cost benefit or economic impact analysis of the proposed rule.
  • The proposed rule threatens to undercut the Tailoring Rule.
  • The Associations offer a series of other comments to improve the quality of the proposed rule.
  • EPA should not expand the proposed rule now or in the future to encompass existing sources.
  • Furthermore, EPA should not expand GHG NSPS regulation to any other source category, especially trade exposed sources.
  • The Associations’ members will be harmed by the proposed NSPS rule.


‘This proposed rulemaking has numerous and fundamental legal, technical, and regulatory flaws. These flaws cannot be cured by simply promulgating a final rule with justifications for and explanations of the actions laid out in the proposed rule. In order to address these serious deficiencies and avoid ongoing harm and confusion to companies that plan to construct EGUs in the relatively near future, as well as other manufacturing sectors concerned about the precedent of EPA’s new energy regulatory role on future project development, EPA should immediately withdraw the proposal.

‘The proposed NSPS GHG rule is unlawful for the reasons set forth above and cannot be cured simply by promulgating a final rule at this time. EPA should immediately withdraw the proposed rule.’

Adapted from a letter by Claira Lloyd.

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