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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

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Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the "War on Coal" (eBook)


ISBN13: 9780190233136
Published: March 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: eBook (ePub)
Price: £16.66 + £3.33 VAT
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Since the early days of the Obama administration, conservative politicians have railed against the President's "war on coal." As evidence of this supposed siege, they point to a series of rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that require the nation's power plants to cut their emissions of several types of air pollution. It's true that, because coal produces far more pollution than any other major energy source, the EPA's rules are expected to further reduce the fuel's already shrinking share of the electricity market, in favor of cleaner options like natural gas, wind and solar power. Even so, the rules are hardly the "unprecedented regulatory assault" that opponents make them out to be. Instead, they are merely the latest chapter in a longstanding quest for redemption, a multi-decade struggle to overcome a tragic flaw in our nation's most important environmental law.

In 1970, a nearly unanimous Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which had the remarkably ambitious aim of eliminating all air pollution that posed a threat to public health or welfare. But there was a problem: for some of the most common pollutants, Congress empowered the EPA to set emission limits only for newly constructed industrial facilities-most notably, power plants. Existing facilities, by contrast, would be largely exempt from direct federal regulation-a regulatory practice known as "grandfathering." What lawmakers didn't anticipate was that imposing costly requirements on new plants while giving existing ones a pass would simply encourage those old plants to stay in business much longer than originally planned. For almost half a century now, the core problems of U.S. environmental policy have flowed inexorably from the smokestacks of these coal-fired clunkers, which continue to pollute at far higher rates than their younger peers.

In Struggling for Air, Richard L. Revesz and Jack Lienke chronicle the political compromises that gave rise to grandfathering, its deadly consequences, and the repeated attempts-by Presidential administrations of both parties-to make things right.

Subjects:
eBooks, Energy and Natural Resources Law
Contents:
Preface: Conflict and Context
I. Coal: A Primer
II. War Stories
Rise of the Rhetoric
Peeling Back the Propaganda
III. Congress Misses the Mark
Fly in the Ointment
Explaining the Error
What the Transcripts Tell Us
Unexpected Deals, Unexpected Devils
Missing the Mark
IV. Misadventures in Modification
Altered States
Spared Change
What Goes Up . . . Might Not Count
Old Plants, New Tricks
A Fishy "Fix"
A New Sheriff in Town
A Safer Harbor
Considering the Alternatives
V. Bad Neighbors
Tall Orders, Taller Stacks
There Goes the Neighborhood
Who Will Stop the Rain?
To Market, To Market
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Grandfathering's Grim Toll
VI. A Warming World
The Carbon Loophole: A History
Between a Cap and a Hard Place
Let's Make a Deal
What's Grandfathering Got to Do with It?
VII. Hope for Redemption
The Dash to Gas
The Role of Regulation
Bumps in the Road Ahead
Conclusion: A Farewell to Harms