EPA plans to cut carbon pollution from power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency today announced a plan that would cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.

The Clean Power Plan proposal builds on trends already under way to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, making them more efficient and causing less pollution, according to the EPA.

In Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities spokesman David Mehlhaff indicated that it was too early to comment. The BPU has coal-powered plants.
“Like other utilities we are assessing the announcement,” Mehlhaff stated.

“Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source–power plants,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release.

“By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids,” McCarthy said. “We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment–our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs.”

The EPA said that by 2030, it would:
• Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
• Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
• Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
• Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.

According to the EPA, states would implement the plan using current policies to meet the goals of the proposed program. According to the federal plan, states would have until June 2016 to submit plans to the EPA, with an option for a two-step process if more time is needed.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., released this statement about today’s EPA announcement:

“Today’s announcement of more draconian EPA regulations from the Obama Administration threatens not only our nation’s stated goal of energy independence, but every middle class family struggling to make ends meet. I’ll use every legislative tool to fight this shortsighted proposal, including supporting legislation to prevent the EPA from finalizing this rule, and limiting funding through the appropriations process.

“The Obama Administration’s latest end run around Congress has been estimated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to cost 224,000 U.S. jobs on average every year through 2030. These regulations would also increase electricity costs by $289 billion and lower households’ disposable income by $586 billion through that same period.

“Kansans, already burdened by Obamacare and still struggling in the Obama economy, simply can’t afford this agenda driven EPA overreach. Worse still, by the Obama Administration’s own admission, these regulations and any unilateral action by the United States would have a negligible impact on global temperatures. As long as large developing countries like Russia, China, India, and Brazil continue increasing their carbon emission on an annual basis, anything we do will be inconsequential. This proposal amounts to all pain and no gain.

“While I understand the importance of protecting the environment for future generations, I also recognize the need to strike a balance between federal regulation and policies that encourage private investment in the responsible exploration and use of North America’s vast supply of natural resources. Our national energy policy should focus on domestic energy production, reducing imports from volatile or hostile regions of the world, and continuing to properly monitor and enforce market regulations. On the supply side, the government can help by supporting responsible North American oil, natural gas and coal exploration and exportation, while promoting the development of alternative, renewable energy resources.”

Sen. Roberts has introduced the Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act strengthening and codifying the President’s Executive Order from Jan. 18, 2011, ensuring that regulations put forth by the Executive Branch consider the economic burden on American businesses, ensure stakeholder input and promote innovation.

Gov. Sam Brownback issued a statement in response to proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations on energy producers.

“A recent study conducted by the Kansas Corporation Commission has shown that Kansas homeowners, schools, and businesses are already paying an extra $227 million a year to pay for President Obama’s overregulation of energy producers, an increase of 9.4 percent since 2007.

“Today’s news that the EPA will be imposing even more expensive regulations on Kansas utilities, and doing so without approval from Congress, is very troubling as it further disrupts the balance that must be achieved between protecting the environment and growing the economy.

“Furthermore, these regulations will continue to raise the cost of living for every Kansan, making the burden on those who are already struggling to pay their bills each month unnecessarily more difficult. Kansas has been working hard to do its part to protect the environment by supporting clean coal technologies at the new plant in Holcomb, as well as diversifying our energy portfolio with wind and natural gas.

“This is more of the Obama Administration’s war against middle America…more cost and more regulation. We need Kansas solutions for Kansans.”

More information is available at http://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan and http://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change.

New Utility Efficiency Learning Center opens for BPU customers

BPU recently opened a new Utility Efficiency Learning Center for utility customers in its main Administration Building at 540 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

This resource center is intended to help customers learn how to lower their energy and water consumption through a variety of efficiency techniques, from simple day-to-day behavioral changes to more detailed information on products, tools, and special rebates that may help reduce a customer’s overall usage or utility cost, a spokesman said.

BPU subject matter experts are available to meet with customers one-on-one in the Utility Efficiency Learning Center, according to the BPU spokesman. Located on the first floor of BPU’s Administration Building, the center is accessible via appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, customers may contact BPU’s David Allen at 913-573-9922 or dallen@bpu.com.

I-70 work ongoing

Work is ongoing on I-70 for bridge pavement repair work.

The project work should be completed by Wednesday, June 4, weather permitting, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The lanes that were closed Sunday evening on I-70 over 47th Street bridge reopened at 7 a.m. Monday, June 2. Lanes that were closed Sunday evening on southbound I-635 to westbound I-70 entrance ramp also reopened Monday morning.

At 7 p.m. Monday, eastbound I-70 left two lanes over 47th Street bridge will be closed. They will reopen at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the two left lanes on westbound I-70 over the I-435 bridge will close. The entrance ramp from northbound I-435 to westbound I-70 will close. These will reopen at 7 a.m. Wednesday. The northbound I-435 traffic will detour via the State Avenue exit to southbound I-435, back to westbound I-70.

Traffic will be directed through the project work zone via signage. Drivers should expect minor delays during their daily commutes.

Updated daily traffic information for this project and for the entire Kansas City metro area can be viewed online any time at www.ksdot.org/kcmetro/laneclose.asp.