The first permit to emit greenhouse gases under the EPA’s new climate rules has been issued by Louisiana for a Nucor steel facility. While that’s the good news, the Obama administration may be planning to take this opportunity to make cap-and-trade look like it would have been a walk in the park compared to EPA regulation.
The permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) requires that Nucor implement “good combustion practices” as a means of controlling greenhouse gas emissions. This sort of energy efficiency strategy is about all that can be reasonably expected to be done at this point to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions short of not emitting them at all. Moreover, this is the approach the EPA said it would allow states to take in a November guidance document.
But in January 7 comments to the LDEQ, the EPA took a much harder line essentially calling for GHG emissions limits or at least an explanation of why no GHG emissions limits are feasible.
The agency also knocked LDEQ for not evaluating the possibility of carbon capture and control (CCS) — an odd criticism given that CCS technology is not commercially available, even if it was physically, economically and politically possible.
The LDEQ ignored the EPA’s comments and issued the permit on January 27 and, according to a report in Carbon Control News, is hoping the EPA doesn’t object to the permit. EPA’s enviro allies have objected to the permit. No doubt they will now start pressing the Obama administration for action.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a media release announcing that the LDEQ,
… issued the air quality construction and operating permit for Nucor Corp.’s direct reduced iron (DRI) facility, which is the first phase of a multiphase project that could create up to 1,250 direct jobs and $3.4 billion in capital investment, with an average salary for workers of $75,000, plus benefits.
House Republicans obviously need to take action IMMEDIATELY to block the EPA from threatening these and other jobs around the country.