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Sean Hackbarth Boundary Dam Power Station in Saskatchewan is the world's first commercial-scale coal-fired power station with a fully-integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) system.Boundary Dam is the world's first commercial-scale coal-fired power plant with a CCS system. Photo credit: SaskPower.

EPA may have lost faith in an important technological component in upcoming carbon regulations.

Newsmax reports the agency may have abandoned carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), a crucial technological requirement in its proposed carbon regulations for new power plants:

InsideEPA cites a source who said the "EPA decided to drop the CCS mandate in the face of growing legal concern that the technology requirement would not withstand court review, because the projects the agency had relied on to show that CCS is 'adequately demonstrated' and 'commercially available' are faltering."

...

The EPA plans to release its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) report this summer.

InsideEPA explained, "EPA's proposed NSPS sets an emissions rate for new coal plants of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, which can only be achieved with partial CCS."

It would be hard for EPA to claim that the technology is commercially viable when the world's only commercial CCS plant-- Saskatchewan's Boundary Dam power plant--hasn't even been operating for a full year.

There have been plenty of voices telling EPA not to have such hope that CCS will be ready anytime soon. Dan Byers of the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy wrote on this blog:

The EPA is mandating carbon capture sequestration (CCS), but as an integrated technology, CCS has never been demonstrated on a commercial power plant, and is nowhere near ready for broad deployment. This fact has been argued by the federal government itself.

And Charles McConnell, former assistant secretary of energy in the Obama Administration, in 2013 told the House Science Committee:

[C]ommercial [CSS] technology currently is not available to meet EPA's proposed rule. The cost of current CO2 capture technology is much too high to be commercially viable....  [I]t is disingenuous to state that the technology is "ready."

The agency may have finally realized that wishing for a technological fix to work wouldn't withstand the scrutiny of a federal court.

EPA is expected to release final carbon regulations on new power plants in August.

Sean Hackbarth Sea ice floating in the Chukchi Sea.Sea ice floating in the Chukchi Sea. Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

While the Interior Department granting Shell permission to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's coast may rile up Pacific Northwest anti-energy activists, developing the region's energy resources has solid support in early Presidential contest states, recent polls from the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) find.

I made three charts out fo the findings. 

South Carolina

south-carolina-voters-backing-arctic-drilling-support-oppose_800px.png Consumer Energy Alliance South Carolina Arctic Energy Poll Consumer Energy Alliance South Carolina Arctic Energy Poll

South Carolina voters were found to support Arctic offshore energy production by a significant 38 point margin, with 63% of voters in support and only 32% in opposition. As the primary season approaches, these results show that Presidential candidates will need to take a strong stance on the issue of Arctic offshore energy exploration.

Iowa

iowa-voters-backing-arctic-drilling-support-oppose_800px.png Consumer Energy Alliance Iowa Arctic Energy Poll Consumer Energy Alliance Iowa Arctic Energy Poll

A majority of registered voters in Iowa support allowing offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in U.S. waters inside the Arctic Circle (52% support, 32% oppose). Three-quarters of Republicans support Arctic drilling (74% support, 10% oppose). A near majority of Democrats oppose the measure (34% support, 49% oppose). Arctic drilling is supported by a wide plurality of non-partisan voters (48% support, 38% oppose).

New Hampshire

new-hampshire-voters-backing-arctic-drilling-support-oppose_800px.png Consumer Energy Alliance New Hampshire Arctic Energy Poll Consumer Energy Alliance New Hampshire Arctic Energy Poll

A majority of registered voters in New Hampshire support allowing offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in U.S. waters inside the Arctic Circle while only about a third oppose it (54% support, 35% oppose). More than two-thirds of Republicans support Arctic drilling (70% support, 18% oppose), as does a narrower majority of non-partisans (54% support, 35% oppose). Most Democrats oppose the measure (34% support, 54% oppose).

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air analyzes the findings in terms of voters appreciating improved energy security from expanded domestic development:

Americans are enjoying the benefits of being a global energy leader and not relying entirely on the good will of nations who don't care much for us.

As I wrote previously, "The U.S. portion of the Arctic holds 34 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil or "about 15 years of current U.S. net oil imports." America's economy will continue to rely on oil and natural gas for decades to come. We should begin developing those resources sooner rather than later.

U.S. Chamber Staff Encana President and CEO Doug Suttles speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s CEO Leadership Series in Washington, DC on May 6, 2015. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The oil business runs four generations deep in Encana President and CEO Doug Suttles' family. His grandfather lost his Louisiana farm in the Great Depression and moved to Texas to work in the oil fields. Today, his daughter works in the industry. "What happened to my family was transformational," he said.

Suttles recently spoke at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's CEO Leadership Series on lifting the oil export ban. We talked to him about the benefits of removing the ban and how America has become an energy super power.

Encana’s Doug Suttles: America’s Energy Renaissance Is Transformational Video of Encana’s Doug Suttles: America’s Energy Renaissance Is Transformational