Hoeven: Administration Releases Plan to Replace One-Size-Fits-All Regulations on Coal Power Plants

Revised Plan Provides Flexibility for States to Reduce Emissions, Aligns with Senator’s Work to Relieve Regulatory Burden

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Energy Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after the administration released a proposal to replace the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) costly rules for coal-generating power plants. Last year, Hoeven joined the president in implementing an executive order to roll back the regulations, which unfairly targeted North Dakota and required a 45 percent reduction in the state’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, well above the national average of 32 percent. Hoeven also cosponsored, and the Senate passed, two resolutions during the last Congress to repeal the EPA’s power plan rules, which President Obama subsequently vetoed.

The new proposal would:

  • Provide greater flexibility for states to decide which technologies would work best to reduce emissions and eliminate unworkable, one-size-fits-all mandates.
  • Finalize guidelines to help states determine the Best System of Emission Reduction (BSER) and allow states 3 years to submit a plan for reducing emissions.
  • Require the EPA to review a state’s plan within 12 months, and should a state not submit a plan, the agency would have 2 years to develop a federal plan on the state’s behalf.
  • Encourage states to invest in the most efficient technologies by removing regulatory burdens and unnecessary compliance costs under the EPA’s New Source Review permitting program.

“We can achieve better environmental stewardship while still ensuring affordable and reliable electricity service around this nation,” said Hoeven. “The power plan advanced by the previous administration far exceeded the authority granted to the EPA by Congress. Further, it would have set unattainable goals for our state, imposing tremendous costs on our businesses and our consumers as well as all of the states where we export our energy. Rather than try to force the grid in a certain direction, we should encourage investment and innovation, which will bring more efficient, commercially-viable technologies to the market, like the CCS technologies we are developing for coal power plants in North Dakota with Project Tundra and the Allam Cycle. This new proposal from the administration will allow the flexibility necessary for states to develop a plan to reduce emissions that is feasible and best meets their needs.”

Hoeven continues to undertake efforts to support the development of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies and forge a true path forward for coal in the nation’s energy mix. To this end, Hoeven recently hosted Energy Secretary Rick Perry in North Dakota, so he could learn firsthand about the breakthrough energy developments occurring in the state. This includes two project’s being undertaken by the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC):

  • Project Tundra, a post-combustion technology to retrofit existing power plants, which is being developed by EERC, Allete Clean Energy, Minnkota Power and BNI Coal.
  • The Allam Cycle, technology for new coal and natural gas power plants that uses supercritical CO2 to increase efficiency and allow emissions to be captured. This project is being developed by EERC, Basin Electric and Allete Inc. 

Prior to this visit, Hoeven reaffirmed Perry’s commitment to support the Department of Energy’s (DOE) cooperative agreements with research organizations like the EERC as well as the DOE’s Fossil Energy Research programs. The senator also secured increased funding for DOE’s carbon capture and carbon storage research programs in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding legislation. Among other things, the bill provides $30 million for a new competitive grant for which the next phase of Project Tundra would be eligible, as well as $25 million to develop supercritical CO2 technologies for coal and natural gas plants like the Allam Cycle.

In addition, Hoeven is advancing his CO2 Regulatory Certainty Act, legislation that aligns tax guidelines with existing federal regulations at the EPA to ensure CCS project developers can use the Section 45Q tax credit, as well as his legislation to extend the refined coal tax credit. Hoeven also recently secured the final approval for North Dakota’s regulatory primacy over Class VI injection wells, which are used for the geologic, long-term storage of CO2. This is the first such approval in the nation and will help advance CCS projects across the state.