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Gov. Mead: Wyoming’s economy would suffer under proposed EPA regulation of new power plants

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R). (Wyoming governor’s office)

Wyoming would suffer under a proposed federal environmental regulation, Gov. Matt Mead warned the Obama administration in a new letter.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would impose the nation’s first uniform carbon pollution limits on new power plants. Those limits hurt Wyoming’s economy, Mead said in a letter he sent Friday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging her to withdraw the rule.

“It lacks sound reasoning, technological justification and will not provide regulatory certainty,” he wrote. “Additionally, it will cut jobs, increase power costs and stifle innovation.”

Wyoming’s coal industry in 2012 provided the state more than $1.2 billion in state and local revenue. The industry employes nearly 7,000 people and produces 16 percent of the nation’s energy, Mead wrote in the letter.

The EPA’s proposal would require new plants to use carbon capture and sequestration technologies, the feasibility of which is unclear for large commercial operations, Mead argued. The proposal would set “a dangerous precedent allowing federal agencies to establish regulations not based on statutory or legal requirements and lacking sound technological or economic reasoning,” he said.

The Wyoming legislature recently approved $15 million to test and develop the technology, Mead writes, arguing the EPA should follow suit.

The EPA is standing by its proposed requirement, arguing it has been tested on several facilities. The proposal, issued in September, would help the administration reach one of the major milestones of President Obama’s plan to tackle climate change. The average U.S. coal plant emits more than 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. Under the proposal, new coal-fired units would be limited to 1,100 pounds per megawatt-hour.

Letter to EPA on New Stationary Sources