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Thank you Republicans

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  • This is hugely out of proportion to what you claim.

    A power plant now - certain ones that are of older type (ie coal, etc) - have a certain emissions level. Under the current rules any change in equipment or expansion of facilities IN ANY WAY requires a review, and MANDATORY investment in new technology. For example, in my home state a local power plant wanted to remodel worker break areas, add parking lots with better lighting, and remodel manager's offices as well as add a conference room and public lobby. This triggered a review of their resources, and to make those rather small changes would have required a 10-year $10 million investment in new technology.

    The new rules would mean that the same power plant could make the changes without review assuming that they don't increase the amount of pollution they currently produce.

    This is no WAY increases the amount of pollution in the environment.
    • The NSR was meant to be a pain in the ass for these older power plants, to strongly encourage them upgrade their technology to meet the newer, more stringent pollution guidelines. By weakening the provisions, the administration will allow older power plants to continue to emit their high levels of pollution that have been grandfathered in. I understand that the changes do not increase existing emmissions, but by removing some of the pressure to lower emmissions, the changes are bad for the environment.

      The only people I saw in support of the changes were power industry groups. I maintain that this is more policy out of the White House that places the desires of big business above those of the public at large.

      The most ironic part is that if it weren't for Ralph Nader, we'd have a Dem prez, and this would not be happening.

      • The most ironic part is that if it weren't for Ralph Nader, we'd have a Dem prez, and this would not be happening.
        Ironic. Oh well.

        I maintain that this is more policy out of the White House that places the desires of big business above those of the public at large.
        Except that the cost to the public isnt very high - the current levels will be sustained if power plants do simple upgrades. They still have to do upgrades if they change capacity or emissions levels. That has not changed.

        This lets old power plants do maintenance and non-output related upgrades without investing tens of millions of dollars. It isn't doing any additional harm to the environment.

        This rule isn't at all a big deal.

        Let's say a power plant was considering improvements that do not change output and say those are going to cost $1M on their face. EPA declares that they must also spend $10M on upgrades to the power plant. Is the plant going to spend $11M to do that $1M of non-productive no-revenue generating upgrades? Nope. Not all. Thats a $1M development project killed by the regulation. Net result: same old level of pollution. No improvement in emissions.

        Under the new rules, that same development can be done without the $10M EPA mandated investment. The project is completed and the $1M improvement is implemented. Net result: same old level of pollution. No improvement in emissions.

        The difference? There isn't one, except now there will be more development, more economic activity - in some cases like in my home state some serious safety upgrades and quality of workers life upgrades - etc.

        I am not debating whether or not Bush is pro-big business or not. But in this case, it is clear that there is not a single ounce of addition pollution and there are benefits for the industry. Any new pollution-relevant construction still must face a review and mandatory upgrades.

        I am of the opinion that government is for the people, but also shouldn't be hostile to business just for the sake of being hostile. This is a very pragmatic change that is limited, concise, common-sense friendly, and environmentally neutral.
        • I disagree that it is environmentally neutral. The point I was trying to make is that the changes in regulations remove an incentive for older power plants to upgrade to cleaner technologies. In your somewhat narrow example the policy is quite limiting; however, imagine the power plant is not planning an improvement for worker safety, but rather needs to replace a core piece of equipment that is reaching the end of its lifecycle. Under the old rules this would (rightly) trigger a review. That is no longer the case. While an argument could be made for exceptions to the stringent review policy for things such as worker safety, broadly rolling it back goes too far. IMHO. We may well have to agree to disagree on this.
          • You're right, you know. Removing these rules allows the polluters to add to their old factories, and that'll increase the amount of pollution since they're allowed to use the old rules even while the factories are increasing their output.

            People fully knew this would limit new projects on old factories, to get around it the factory owners would simply stop upgrading/installing new equipment. But over time they'd get to the point where they'd simply *have* to build more, the point where the cost of building new facilities was justified by demand.

            Then Bush came along and simply wiped the rules. Now the owners are sighing relief. Oh, joy. :-(

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