Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  There’s been a lot of criticism about EPA’s public process with its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.  One major complaint is that the agency held just one public meeting, at the end of November, in – some said – a very out of the way place: Charleston, WV.  Last week EPA announced three additional public comment sessions in February – the first in Kansas City, MO; the second, a week later, in San Francisco.  If you have trouble getting to those two cities you can plan on going to the third meeting at the end of March in Gillette, WY.  EPA also reopened the public comment period until April 26, 2018.

*  The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) hosts a public meeting via WebEx this month of the Supercritical CO2 Oxy-combustion Technology Group, established to address challenges associated with oxy-combustion systems in directly heated supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles. Such systems have the potential to be efficient, cost-effective and well-suited for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture. But there are big challenges –  chemical kinetic uncertainties, combustion instability, flow path design, thermal management, pressure containment, among others.  The agenda isn’t available yet but the format is built around one central report with the lesser time given over to briefer reports.  These are every-other-month meetings.

*  State of the Union… The President: “America is a nation of builders.  We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?”  Some good ideas:
·         Legislation that generates at least $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure.
·         Every Federal dollar should be leveraged with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment.
·         Streamlining permitting and approval — getting to no more than two years, perhaps even one.
Or (author’s comment) status quo (bad idea) – maintain the business of groups very skilled in the business of delay…

Tom Ewing
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