Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the War on Coal

Hardcover | January 25, 2016

byRichard Revesz, Jack Lienke

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Since the beginning 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 aim to slash air pollution from the nation's powersector. Because coal produces far more pollution than any other major energy source, these rules are expected to further reduce its already shrinking share of the electricity market in favor of cleaner options like natural gas and solar power. But the EPA's policies are hardly the "unprecedentedregulatory assault " that opponents make them out to be. Instead, they are merely the latest chapter in a multi-decade struggle to overcome a tragic flaw in our nation's most important environmental law. In 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which had the remarkably ambitious goal of eliminating essentially 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 onlyfor newly constructed industrial facilities, most notably power plants. Existing plants, 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 whilegiving existing ones a pass would simply encourage those old plants to stay in business much longer than originally planned. Since 1970, 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 higherrates 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.

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Since the beginning 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 aim to slash air pollution from the nation's powersector. Because coal produces far more poll...

Richard L. Revesz is one of the nation's leading voices in the fields of environmental and regulatory law and policy. He is Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at New York University School of Law, where he directs the Institute for Policy Integrity. Jack Lienke is a Senior Attorney at the Institute for Policy Integrity at...

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Kobo ebook|Apr 16 2008

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:January 25, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190233117

ISBN - 13:9780190233112

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Table of Contents

Preface: Conflict and Context1. Coal: A Primer2. War StoriesRise of the RhetoricPeeling Back the Propoganda3. Congress Misses the MarkFlying in the OintmentExplaining the ErrorWhat the Transcripts Tell USUnexpected Deals, Unexpected DevilsMissing the Mark4. Misadventures in ModificationAltered StatesSpared ChangeWhat Goes Up . . . Might Not CountOld Plants, New TricksA Fishy "Fix"A New Sheriff in TownA Safer HarborConsidering the Alternatives5. Bad NeighborsTall Orders, Taller StacksThere Goes the NeighborhoodWho Will Stop the Rain?To Market, To MarketThe Sincerest Form of FlatteryGrandfathering's Grim Toll6. A Warming WorldThe Carbon Loophole: A HistoryBetween a Cap and a Hard PlaceLet's Make a DealWhat's Grandfathering Got to Do with It?7. Hope for RedemptionThe Dash to GasThe Role of RegulationBumps in the Road AheadConclusion: A Farewell to Harms

Editorial Reviews

"Revesz and Lienke have written a clear, incisive and compelling account of the coal and electric utility industries' decades-long success in blocking sound environmental policies. They also offer some hope-growing from recent efforts by presidents of both parties-of holding these industriesaccountable for the serious costs they impose on society. Struggling for Air is destined to be a classic in the study of environmental policy and politics." --Jonathan Z. Cannon, Blaine T. Phillips Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, University of Virginia, and General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1995-98