| WASHINGTON, July 24
WASHINGTON, July 24 Gas-rich states such as
Texas should have the easiest time complying with planned
Environmental Protection Agency regulations on carbon pollution
from power plants, despite opposition from their lawmakers, a
new study says.
The study, released on Thursday by the Rhodium Group and the
Center for Security and International Studies, shows the boom in
shale gas production will give producing states an advantage in
meeting carbon reduction targets proposed by the EPA on June 2.
The Clean Power Plan would put the U.S. power sector on
course to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from
2005 levels by 2030. Each state has been assigned its own target
for lowering emissions.
The agency laid out four "building blocks" that states can
use to meet their targets: making coal plants more efficient,
switching from coal to natural gas, increasing renewable and
nuclear energy, and boosting energy efficiency.
John Larsen, a senior analyst at the Rhodium Group, said
switching coal-fired plants to natural gas is one of the
cheapest and fastest ways to comply with the proposed standards.
"The primary pathway to compliance is a coal-to-gas switch,"
said Larsen. "Big gas producing states and regions win, and can
do really, really well under this policy."
Larsen said researchers plan to expand their study and test
scenarios for regions in which natural gas is not as plentiful,
and for when natural gas prices increase.
Ironically, lawmakers from states which stand to benefit
most from the EPA rules, including U.S. senators David Vitter of
Louisiana and James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Texas Governor Rick
Perry, are among the agency's most vocal opponents.
That region, which also includes Arkansas, is likely to see
a nearly $18 billion increase in annual natural gas production
revenue between 2020 and 2030, according to the report.
Oklahoma has already joined a lawsuit with eight other
states challenging the EPA's not-yet finalized rule on the
grounds the agency does not have the authority to regulate
carbon from existing power plants.
Inhofe on said on Wednesday at a senate hearing with EPA
Administrator Gina McCarthy that the plan's energy efficiency
recommendations were "impossible." He added that they did not
address what would happen to coal plants that have already made
investments to meet other recent pollution control requirements.
Texas Governor Rick Perry has repeatedly questioned the
science behind climate change.
The report also said that, in the U.S. Mountain West region,
which includes major coal-producing states such as Wyoming, coal
production will decline by over $7 billion annually in the same
decade, while natural gas production grows by $5 billion.
While energy costs in some regions might rise, the revenue
windfall from higher natural gas production will help compensate
for that, the report added.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici. Editing by Ros Krasny and