Is the Bush Administration continuing to weaken our environmental regulations?
By and large the US has been getting cleaner and more environmentally friendly on a per unit basis for the past 30 years. This is a good thing, though we still have a long way to go.
I think that the future of power in the US includes a significant combination of coal generation (today still 55% of our electric power). Most electric power people would agree these days. So clean coal policies and clean coal technologies are very hot topics for me.
The electric utility industry understandably has concerns about the economic impact on its power plants from new and increased regulation and requirements. I have no desire to see our power prices jump overnight and put the brakes on the economy.
But it really bothers me to see a weakening enforcement of laws already on the books. I want to see measured increases in emissions restrictions year after year across the board. No major jumps, and no backwards steps. That way technology and capital planning can go hand in hand, and the industry can build a culture of long-term improvement. The biggest problem for industry in my mind is not increases in restrictions, but not knowing when and how much those increases will be. Or worse, believing that it can reduce the effect of restrictions currently in the rulebook. That only promotes industry lobbying to game the system.
Does the Bush Administration understand this fact? Check out one article suggesting it does not, or post a comment if you disagree.