Editor's Desk Blog

Editor's Desk

The editors of Engineering360 and Electronics360 will share their thoughts with you in this blog. Check back for sneak peaks, behind-the-scenes, and insight.

Previous in Blog: Engineer's Guide to Corrosion, Part 1 and 2 Now Available!   Next in Blog: John Glenn Dies at Age 95
Close
Close
Close
24 comments

Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

Posted December 08, 2016 8:20 AM by wagman262

Curious for your back-of-the-envelope assessment: Let’s say EPA stops enforcing air and water rules for power plants. Would doing so ease regulatory pressure enough on coal-fired power plants to put them back in the money and farther up the dispatch curve? Or is the regulatory structure such that state enforcement would mean that “turning off” environmental controls would not be an option?

It would seem, too, that the economics of natural gas remain a tangible factor in coal’s viability, not to mention state-by-state renewable energy targets, as well as regional market structures that some believe are making nuclear power uneconomic.

Your thoughts?

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 8378
Good Answers: 774
#1

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 12:06 PM

I don't know how it is in other states but here in North Dakota we are in the group of states with the lawsuits against EPA for their grossly overstepping their boundaries and authority in how we manage a number of things, our water at every level being one of them that's at the top of the list.

As for our state, any regulatory rollback will likely result in any presently in place and functioning emissions related systems on power plants or anything else being either turned off ASAP and or then totally removed/bypassed on their next maintenance cycle.

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 3:18 PM

...we are in the group of states with the lawsuits against EPA for their grossly overstepping...

This administration didn't want to work with congress, so they side stepped congress and had the EPA making its own rules. and standards.

Which isn't surprising, the Obama Administration did the similar things with ACA (ObamaCare) by calling it a penalty and not a tax, and had it originate from the senate, when in fact it was a tax. And all new taxes have to originate from congress.

what an abortion....

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 42294
Good Answers: 1662
#3

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 3:56 PM

You won't have long to wait to find out.

The incoming administration intends to roll pollution laws back to the dark ages. Along with all the other advancements made by former administrations for the last 40 years.

These idiots will do irreparable harm to public health and safety and the general quality of life in this country.

Los Angeles will look like Beijing does in 5 years.

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#4
In reply to #3

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 4:55 PM

The dark ages?, Lyn, you wouldn't believe this because you're set in your ways, but your over reacting.

and as far as having Los Angeles looking like Beijing in less then 5 years, well, its better then having L.A. Looking like Detroit. Oh, wait,.... we can't use that, that was a liberal run city for generations... yes, as a liberal, let's use Beijing.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 146
#5

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 5:14 PM

I'll be interested in more engineering discussion on the topic.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 42294
Good Answers: 1662
#6
In reply to #5

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 5:47 PM

Without doing a state-by-state analysis of the existing laws and comparing that to federal laws and then comparing that to pollution and health problems caused by those relaxed standards, it's anybody;s guess.

My thought is that as the US EPA goes, so goes the nation. So, to "ease regulatory pressure enough on coal-fired power plants to put them back in the money and farther up the dispatch curve" is certainly a short term (and short sighted) relief to coal fired power plant owners.

I can tell you from my own state legislature's track record that it will not bode well for anyone with breathing problems, putting aside any other long term environmental impacts.

In other words, it's a step backwards for children, and adults, with breathing issues.

And if, and when, that happens it will take many years to undo the damage it causes.

Many coal burning plants may have already been converted to natural gas, which has its own set of skeletons regarding the methods of extraction, but may render them unfeasible for conversion backward to coal.

Water pollution has its own set of issues.

Discussing the just engineering issues is irresponsible.

Stick around, I think we'll find out.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31080
Good Answers: 1728
#7

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 8:53 PM

I would imagine any rollback would be targeted at standards that have deadlines for implementation pending....In other words a freeze on what is existing and in place...Together with elimination of standards that are believed to be ill conceived and require too much compliance time and effort...The paperwork of compliance is killing everybody...The requirement of environmental impact studies on everything....Further relief for small businesses and paperwork compliance...Restrictions on land usage because some small animal exists on it....Requirements on the automobile industry to increase gas mileage....and reduce pollution even more....Responsible logging should be permitted...Sell some public land, the government has too much land...Stop trying to regulate everything from pesticides to GMO's...

https://www.epa.gov/regulation-biotechnology-under-tsca-and-fifra/epas-regulation-biotechnology-use-pest-management

http://www.epa.ie/licensing/gmo/

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 42294
Good Answers: 1662
#8
In reply to #7

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/08/2016 10:45 PM

"standards that are believed to be ill conceived" Who decides? Actual scientists, or politicians?

"too much compliance time and effort" is a valid argument.

"environmental impact studies on everything"? Environmental impact studies are not required on "everything". Come on.

"Restrictions on land usage because some small animal exists on it." No comment. Humans will eventually become extinct. It's the reason that matters.

"gas mileage....and reduce pollution even more", impact the environment positively and the stock market negatively. Europe did it and they are not worse off for it.

"Responsible logging". Have you ever seen land that has been logged? I have. The terrain is devastated by tractors who leave barren, rutted land behind. Think mud, ruts and erosion at the first rain. Tree limbs, tops, branches and undesirable wood is left to rot or burn.

It it NOT a pretty sight.

Sorry to stray, I'll leave now without rebutting the rest.

Reply
Commentator

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: WA
Posts: 80
Good Answers: 3
#9
In reply to #8

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 12:24 AM

And two years later it's replanted. And for the next decade the trailing blackberries take over along with the other sun loving plants. By 20 years they are shaded out and wait for the next harvest. If you put raising corn in slow motion--60+years instead of one summer--it would look the same. The difference is we live through 80+ corn harvests and think of it as normal but see only a single timber harvest.

__________________
clint.bowman@comcast.net
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31080
Good Answers: 1728
#10
In reply to #8

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 9:37 AM

Sustainable logging is not clear cutting, it's responsible thinning of the forest and providing fire breaks, things that are common sense that aren't being done because of environmentalists that mean well but are misguided and overzealous....

PETA should be labeled as a terrorist organisation...or at least a hate group...

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#13
In reply to #10

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 11:02 AM

I agree with that, Also Sustainable logging is selective, depending how the logs are extracted, damages can vary. But not to the degree of clear cutting.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 8378
Good Answers: 774
#15
In reply to #8

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 6:15 PM

"Responsible logging". Have you ever seen land that has been logged? I have. The terrain is devastated by tractors who leave barren, rutted land behind. Think mud, ruts and erosion at the first rain. Tree limbs, tops, branches and undesirable wood is left to rot or burn."

Context please as in when and where.

If it was back in pre regulations day it does't count today and if it was today its unlikely that it was just cut and left for dead but rather what is far more likely is it was in the begining stage of being repurposed into either a managed forest or some other application that thusly legally allowed it to be clear cut.

From what I understand is that to turn former natural forested land into agricultural land or into a managed commercial forest the transition time from first Axe to first plow so to speak can take several years to complete so during that transition time the land is generally in a pretty chaotic mess state of one fashion or another.

Just because you saw it tore up doesn't mean it was a permanent condition done solely as an act of clear cutting /slash and burn work.

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#16
In reply to #15

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 8:32 PM

After high school when everyone got out of the 4H horse projects my dad starting airing Belgium Draft Horses.

Our farm was in a vacation area (peninsula) with woodland and bluffs. We raked hay and picked stones with the team in the summer, and logged in the winter.

land owners of summer homes would ask us to log out there property. Not only as what they thought was a novelty, but as selective cutting, we didn't scar up the existing trees left behind like what the skidders do.

a photographer stopped in an took a picture of my dad and the team. Made a magizine out of it. Neighbor of ours was in SAN Diego airport, killing time in a book store, saw a calendar with an old man driving a team, and decided to buy it for my dad for Christmas because it reminded them of my team and his team.

they were quite surprised to find out it was my dad when my dad brought out the autographed book where the same picture was in it.

if I can find the picture, I'll post it.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31080
Good Answers: 1728
#17
In reply to #16

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/10/2016 10:41 AM

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#18
In reply to #17

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/10/2016 12:19 PM

A little off topic, this is a story that stuck with me. When I was about 10 years old, we had a old neighbor that came over at night, and we'd (my dad and him) talk about the old times and I'd listen.

We lived on a peninsula and they would haul logs like the picture you posted in the dead of winter across the bay of Green Bay (part of Lake Michigan) to the saw mill in Marinette. Even though it was the Dead of winter, but with the ice shifting, cracks would appear in the ice and even open up to open water and then get snow over and freeze. But not as thick.

the teamster would drive the horse, and the logging skid would break through the ice and start sinking. The teamster would jump off and the team of Belgiums (horses) would be struggling for their lives and the skid was pulling them down.

the teamster would try to unhook the tugs from the skid, but you can only do that when there is slack in the tug. There was Nothing the teamster could do except watch his horses do a death struggle. I pictured the horses with their nostrils flared, with steamy breaths coming out of there nostrils puffing like a locomotive. Fighting a losing battle as the team gets pulled underwater. That story always stuck with me.

There was talk about logging all the virgin timber down there on the bottom of the bay. I know they do that Lake Superior.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31080
Good Answers: 1728
#19
In reply to #18

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/11/2016 8:42 AM

Yes a goldmine if it's not too deep and you know where to look....

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#20
In reply to #19

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/11/2016 11:50 AM

That's just it, it's deep where there's little oxygen there, but it's spread out.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 8378
Good Answers: 774
#21
In reply to #18

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/11/2016 9:42 PM

What's the term they use to describe that sunken old growth timber?

I forget for some reason.

On a semi related note every now and then I dig up what's left of ancient tree roots and the like around here in locations and subsoil strata that are too deep to have ever been from trees that grew here since the last ice age.

Where I am at there is a layer of crazy hard blue clay that's about 4 - 6 feet thick in most places that from everything I have ever seen here is the bottom limit of tree root growth and what I find is in the sub soil strata below that.

They are not coal yet but some are very close to it so it makes me curious as to its age and if carbon 14 dating could place its rough age or if it goes back even further.

I always think I am going to collect a sample and have the local college radioisotopic decay date it for me but I always forget to set a sample aside when I dig some up.

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#22
In reply to #21

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/12/2016 7:22 AM

I thought to make coal it needed heat and pressure.

I know they harvest the waterlogged timber in Lake Superior.

The value of the lags are in Old Growth Timber. The timber is at a level where they is no oxygen in the water, just like in the bay of Green Bay.

I'll see if I can find a video of that. I thought we had a feed of that here at CR4

This is even going further off topic, but when I was a freshmen in high school in industrial arts class (Wood working, automotive, machine shop and drafting)

I mad a stereo cabinet and I took some of what I thought was red oak from a very old pile that was in our sheds. I ran it through the jointer on one side before I ran it through the planer, I thought the jointer was laboring a bit (It was a 8" Oliver Jointer, it was a pretty big unit) When I ran it through the planer, it stalled it.

Instructor was a little po'd for bringing my chit in. (That was only because he used to buy from us and we ended up that we had to kick him out of our lumber pile but cause of some of the things he was doing, but that even another story) .

Anyways, it was like it was petrified, dad mentioned that the lumber was there when he was a kid, I myself think that it was actually hickory, harder than hell.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 146
#11

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 9:49 AM

Let's continue to focus on the engineering ideas and save the rest for other forums. I will note, however, that "messy" policy decisions often intersect with more precise engineering practices. So let's acknowledge the policy differences and focus on the engineering.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31080
Good Answers: 1728
#12
In reply to #11

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 10:12 AM

Such as? I don't see the rollback of EPA over-regulation having much effect on the engineering community other than perhaps making more jobs available because of a more business friendly atmosphere....unless of course you're an environmental engineer, a field that may suffer stagnation for a while....

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22699
Good Answers: 410
#14
In reply to #11

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/09/2016 11:07 AM

Yes, see the white dot.... that engineering.. ignore the blackness, they are just reefs, shoals. rocks.

We'll just acknowledge them, its nothing of importance that would affect the engineering sailing cruise.

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Madison, WI.
Posts: 2093
Good Answers: 80
#23

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/12/2016 1:12 PM

How is this going to effect quality of air, water, environment and ultimately quality of life?

I think most here have seen the pictures of New York, LA and others from the 70’s. If not, use Google. The effects of the EPA are very real and tangible. It was also one of the reasons Nixon got himself ousted.

Can the argument be made that some environmental regulations have gone too far? Left common sense behind? Become repressive? I believe yes. One thing about all power hungry people, left or right, they tend to take the mile if given an inch. Here in Madison we had a story in the papers this last week (http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/environment/ken-koeppler-didn-t-know-he-bought-a-former-dry/article_36a875bf-5813-538b-8ef6-dba676a4cad3.html) about a person who is being hounded (not used lightly) by the DNR, EPA, etc. because he is the third owner removed of what used to be a dry cleaners. They are literally going to bankrupt this guy over something that he had no part in. That my friends is over reach epitomized. That is government being abusive. Oppressive even. Should the sight be cleaned up? Yes. Is it this owners responsibility? No. I am sure most of you could find or recall similar examples.

So should our regulatory agency be reigned in or at least objectively be reviewed? Yes! Should it be crippled, gutted, or dismantled? NO! the evidence that it works is there.

__________________
Knowing is the end result of learning, not believing.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 8378
Good Answers: 774
#24
In reply to #23

Re: Impact of an EPA Rule Rollback

12/13/2016 7:58 AM

"I think most here have seen the pictures of New York, LA and others from the 70’s. If not, use Google. The effects of the EPA are very real and tangible."

I for one have come to absolutely despise those situations and locations as examples of anything. Statically they are anomalies/data point outliers where geographic and natural local climate plus unnatural population concentration are the real issue with what happened there and by no means any degree of a accurate representation of reality and the world as a whole.

If I or anyone else tried to use what we in my region of the world sees for winter temperatures and conditions to say that that's what the whole world is like people would think we are idiots and fools because what happens here is a local condition thats driven by our location and local climate and no where near a standard of the world as a whole.

If any of those cities were put where I live and every single detail of what and how emissions were handled back then were not only put in place but artificially driven to a factor of 10 times what they were at the time they still couldn't produce the effect they had. Our local geographic and topographic features plus climate would make it impossible.

I have no problem with local rule mandating certain regulations to combat a local problem but have a huge issue with someone else's local problem and related fix being forced on me when it's not remotely capable of ever being an issue where I live let alone something that needs regulating for like reason.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 24 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

clint420601 (1); lyn (3); phoenix911 (8); rashavarek (1); SolarEagle (5); tcmtech (4); wagman262 (2)

Previous in Blog: Engineer's Guide to Corrosion, Part 1 and 2 Now Available!   Next in Blog: John Glenn Dies at Age 95

Advertisement