Paul Gutermann Quoted in Public Power Daily on New CO2 Reduction Rule

Paul Gutermann, a partner in Akin Gump’s environment and natural resources practice, was quoted by Public Power Daily in the article “Public Power Weekly Exclusive: Industry awaits fate of CCS in federal CO2 reduction rule,” which looks at whether carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a realistic strategy to cut emissions from new power plants.

The article notes that the power industry is eagerly awaiting the release of a final rule by the EPA for new source performance standards. The EPA, the article says, relied on CCS in making an argument for its carbon dioxide restrictions when it first proposed the rule in early 2014.

The agency, according to the article, saw the technology as a way for new coal-fired boilers to be built and still meet carbon limits, but Gutermann said a legal complication arose surrounding the funding of certain projects.

The article also addresses the Clean Power Plan, a proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions not on hypothetical new plans, but on those that already exist. Gutermann observed that the new source rule is important because legal predicate holds that rules for new sources should be in place before rules for existing power plants go forward. The EPA last year issued a proposed rule for existing plants and plans to put out the final rule sometime this summer.

Finally, Gutermann commented on the precarious standing of CCS, including its lack of commercial viability, which he said creates a legal flaw that could lead courts to strike down the new source performance standards. As a result, if the EPA persists in requiring the use of CCS in its final new source power plant rule, the Clean Power Plan could find itself devoid of its necessary predicate.