The EPA and sulfur dioxide: the absurdity marches on

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the EPA, is at it again.  It would appear that she will not be happy until all existing power plants are shut down, and all proposed new plants exist solely “on the drawing board”.  Her latest attack involves sulfur dioxide emissions.

Last December the EPA proposed new rules governing these emissions.  After the comment period had expired, in June, the EPA published the formal rules, but, like magic, and without comment, the new rules added a preamble which wiped out 40 years of EPA policy.

In determining how much sulfur dioxide was emitted by a plant, so as to make sure that the plant was in compliance, the EPA in the past, (and quite logically) has used actual measurements of emissions.  As of June, that procedure will stop.  Instead, to determine compliance, the EPA will now use,

computer estimations of what air quality might be.

Of course, the EPA hasn’t yet devised these computer models, so all “yet unborn” power plants will remain unborn for the time being.  

Even worse, as to existing power plants, it matters not how much sulfur dioxide is actually being emitted.  If the computer model shows that the plant is in violation, then it is in violation, and the facts be damned.

Funny thing, though, since 1980, the amount of sulfur dioxide emissions has fallen by 56%, even though the number of fossil fuel power plants has risen by 70%.  I can only assume that this type of success would eventually put the EPA’s “sulfur dioxide” division, or section or department out of business.  So, now they will have something to do…developing computer models of assumed emissions.

And, according to the EPA, the benefits of this new sulfur dioxide modeling procedure will amount to a mere $12 million in 2020.  As the article points out:

Liquidating the EPA budget would yield better returns.