Dangers from EPA Playing National Energy Regulator

Published May 22, 2015

Climate Change Weekly #173

If the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed clean power plant rule (CPP) is finalized and withstands expected legislative and court challenges, it would give the agency power to determine how electricity is provided to every household, school, and factory in the United States.

Historically, EPA’s authority over power generation and use has been limited to regulating pollutants emitted by power plants and industrial facilities into the air, water, or as solid waste.

As described by attorneys William S. Scherman, Charles H. Haake, and Jason J. Fleischer:

The EPA’s sweeping new plant to plug approach is radically different from any other regulation the EPA has previously imposed on electricity generators. Instead of merely saying to an existing power plant “thou shalt not emit more than X” from your smokestack, the Clean Power Plan would insinuate the EPA into every aspect of the Nation’s energy grid. For instance, the EPA proposes to reduce the use (demand in industry terms) of electricity by requiring States to impose energy efficiency standards that meet the EPA’s approval. At the same time, the EPA is requiring States to massively shift generation away from fossil fuel-fired power plants to renewable sources of electricity such as wind and solar.

Experts in energy reliability have raised significant concerns about the CPP. For instance, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the regulatory authority charged with assuring the reliability of the power system in North America, testified before Congress the CPP “may represent a significant reliability challenge” to the electric grid. And a commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the federal agency charged with regulating the nation’s power grid, testified FERC determined the proposal “‘has the potential to completely undermine the market principles that underpin dispatch’ of our Nation’s power systems, and that it may have ‘profound reliability implications.'”

Leaving aside the question of whether EPA actually has the authority to impose the CPP on the states, Scherman et al., argue EPA’s own statements show it does not have the technical expertise to be the nation’s energy regulator. EPA has claimed electric power from different types of generating units is fungible, with generation at one power plant substitutable for generation from another wholly different kind of plant, “without regard to the generating unit’s operating characteristics, its geographic location, grid design or any of a host of other factors.”

Any first-year electrical engineering student knows this is not true.

Because wind and solar power are intermittent, highly variable sources of electric power, they cannot be relied on to provide either base load power – daily minimum operating power necessary to keep the grid functional – or peaking power — electricity dispatchable as needed to meet greater-than-normal demand. EPA’s power fantasy cannot overcome basic physics and the realities of operating a modern, interconnected electric power grid.

— H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Forbes.com


Join us at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change!


The Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10) will be held in Washington, DC on June 11–12 at the Washington Court Hotel. The conference will explore these important questions:

  • Is it time for Congress to take a fresh look at climate science and examine the economic impacts of past and current laws?
  • Is it time for Congress to explore better science-based policies for energy and the environment?
  • In short: Isn’t it time to start over on the question of global warming?

The two-day event will feature five keynote addresses, 14 panel discussions, and five award presentations for achievement in climate science and communications. Sen. James Inhofe, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, will be the opening keynote speaker. Princeton University’s renowned physics professor William Happer, Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas, and author/radio talk show host Mark Steyn are also confirmed as keynoters. Sen. Ted Cruz, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, has been invited to deliver the concluding keynote.

The panels will address, among other topics, climate science, energy policy, economic policy, national security, the corruption of science, effective science communication, and action items for policymakers. In addition to the Frederick Seitz Memorial Award, awards will be presented for political leadership on the climate change issue, excellence in climate science communication, courage in the defense of science, and lifetime achievement.

General registration is $129; seniors and students may register for $99. For much more information or to register, visit http://climateconference.heartland.org/


EU wants US oil and gas … New study shows cold deadlier than heat … China and India tell West to pay up … UK gives locals wind farm veto … Polar ice makes a comeback … President touts bogus national defense climate threat


The European Union is pushing the Obama administration to allow expanded exports of oil and natural gas as part of a trans-Atlantic trade deal under negotiation, in part to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russia for natural gas. Fossil fuel exports from the US have been restricted for decades.

In The Wall Street Journal, Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s energy chief, said ending restrictions on natural gas and crude oil exports from the US to the EU would be mutually beneficial. Sefcovic writes, “We believe that the energy chapter in the [trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership] … could make a quite important contribution to the mutually beneficial trade exchange, but also to the energy security of the EU. We are the biggest market in the world; we are the biggest energy importer in the world. So I think we are a quite important destination for any energy exporter.”

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal


According to an international study published in The Lancet, cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather. The May 21 study analyzed more than 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The study found 7.71% of all deaths were caused by non-optimal temperatures with cold temperatures being responsible for the majority of these deaths (7.29% of all deaths). Just 0.42% of all deaths were due to heat. Interestingly, the researchers found many more deaths are attributable to moderately hot or cold weather than result from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

SOURCE: The Lancet


In 2010 at the end of a climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, President Barack Obama and the leaders of other industrialized nations committed to raising $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries deal with climate change. Thus far, the Green Climate Fund has received just $10 billion in verbal pledges from 33 countries, and only $4 billon of the pledges have actually resulted in a signed commitment to deliver the funds. China and India evidently feel the time for talk is over. The two countries issued a rare joint statement demanding to know when the $100 billion in promised green money is going to be delivered. According to the statement:

The Two Sides [China and India] reaffirm … the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, reflecting different historical responsibilities, development stages and national circumstances between developed and developing countries. The 2015 agreement shall address mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building and transparency of action and support in a comprehensive and balanced manner.

The Two Sides urged the developed countries to raise their pre-2020 emission reduction targets and honor their commitment to provide $100 billion dollars per year by 2020 to developing countries.

Reading the full statement the message is clear: Before China and India cut carbon dioxide emissions, developed countries will be expected to keep their part of the bargain and fully endow the green climate fund to compensate developing counties for the harm energy restrictions will impose on their economies.

SOURCE: Indian Prime Minister Statement


The UK’s new majority Tory government is flexing its muscles on energy issues. No longer having to cut deals with coalition partners, new energy minister Amber Rudd announced the government will fast-track plans to allow local councils to block future onshore windfarms. Currently, local councils can be forced to accept new wind farms. According to the Telegraph one senior government source said, “The Prime Minister strongly feels that this is a real local issue and if people don’t want to have wind farms they don’t have to have them.” At the same time, the government will allow energy firms to offer incentives, such as discounts on local electric bills, if a community agrees to host a new wind farm.

SOURCES: The Telegraph and The Sunday Times


Updated NASA satellite data reveals Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice extent in 1979. NASA satellites began monitoring sea ice at the end of a 30-year cooling trend with the result sea ice extent at the time was the highest it had likely been since the 1920s. Yet the late-1970s sea ice extent was treated as the normal baseline against which future sea ice changes would be compared. In 2005, when polar ice declined for several years, climate alarmists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change touted this as evidence of human-caused global warming. By 2012, overall polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. Since the end of 2012, polar ice extent rapidly rebounded and is now roughly 5 percent greater than the post-1979 average.

SOURCE: Forbes.com


In his May 20 commencement address to the graduating class of the US Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Connecticut, President Barack Obama once again raised the specter of runaway human-caused global warming as among the most significant threats facing the US military. The president said, “Make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country.”

As evidence, he noted the naval base in Norfolk, Virginia was increasingly threatened by floods and high tides. Yet, as The New York Times noted in 2010, Norfolk wasn’t built on land but rather on compacted material. “Like many other cities, Norfolk was built on filled-in marsh. Now that fill is settling and compacting. In addition, the city is in an area where significant natural sinking of land is occurring.”

This is not the first time the Obama administration hyped climate change as a threat to Defense Department missions, operations, equipment, and infrastructure. In Climate Change Weekly 143, I critiqued the Pentagon’s “2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap” arguing global warming will significantly affect military operations. Concerning the report, Investor’s Business Daily noted:

The report … ends up making the military look rather pathetic, as though it’s extremely vulnerable to bad weather. … That the military can only train soldiers in pleasant weather? Or that the Pentagon’s equipment isn’t currently designed to work in extreme weather conditions – like, say, a desert?


In a Policy Brief released in February 2015, Heartland Institute Policy Analyst Taylor Smith offered a devastating critique of the Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s report on the Defense Department’s vulnerability to climate change. The president apparently isn’t paying attention. As Smith wrote,

GAO has overlooked convincing evidence that what is called “climate change” is unlikely to have a greater effect on DOD’s infrastructure or America’s military preparedness in general than past changes in climate. GAO also overlooked evidence that shows requiring DOD to invest in mitigation or adaptation to address phantom risks could divert resources from other more urgent needs, reducing military preparedness.

SOURCES: Climate Change Dispatch; Climate Change Weekly; and Heartland Institute Policy Brief

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