Today, the Environmental Protection Agency imposed on Montana a Federal Implementation Plan under the Regional Haze Rule that will cost scores of millions of dollars, but achieve no discernible purpose.
Specifically, EPA is requiring $82 million in unnecessary capital expenditures at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant located east of Billings, Montana, in order to engender an ‘improvement’ in visibility that is imperceptible to the eye.
Don’t take my word for it! See the images directly below. They depict the visibility “benefits” wrought by EPA’s regulations. They were generated using WinHaze visibility modeling software, with inputs from EPA data.
Notably, these mandated controls are 500% more expensive than what EPA’s standing rules presume to be “cost-effective.” Given that the benefits are invisible, the severity of these Regional Haze requirements suggests that EPA’s motivations were political.
Remember, environmental special interests are a significant component of the President’s organizational base. And for them, coal is evil, because it is “dirty.” That’s why, way back in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that he would “bankrupt” the coal industry if elected President. Now, EPA is following through on the President’s promise. The powers of the presidency are the means by which he satisfies the environmentalists’ desired ends. To be sure, it’s an American outrage that the fate of an entire industry can thus be subjected to the capricious winds of presidential politics, but that’s a different blog post. For now, it suffices to say that this Administration is imposing billions of dollars of costs, in the midst of difficult economic times, in order to placate a political constituency, and for nothing else.