New power plants will have strict greenhouse gas emission standards under the EPA’s proposed ruling.
Coal Greatly Affected
The EPA proposed the first Clean Air Act standard for carbon pollution from new power plants, a 2007 Supreme Court ruling. According to the EPA, the proposed standard reflects the ongoing trend in the power sector to build cleaner plants that take advantage of American-made technologies, including new, clean-burning, efficient natural gas generation, which is already the technology of choice for new and planned power plants.
At the same time, the agency believes the rule creates a path forward for new technologies to be deployed at future facilities that will allow companies to burn coal, while as long as the carbon emissions do not exceed those from natural gas plants.
The rulemaking proposed only concerns new generating units that will be built in the future, and does not apply to existing units already operating or units that will start construction over the next 12 months.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson responded to questions from the press that there are no current plans by the EPA to further regulate existing power plant carbon emissions other than with Mercury Air Toxics Standards or Cross State Air Pollution Rules.
Currently, there is no uniform national limit on the amount of carbon pollution new power plants can emit. As an interpretation of the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling, the EPA determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment.
The EPA states that the proposed standard is flexible and would help minimize carbon pollution through the deployment of the same types of modern technologies and steps that power companies are already taking to build the next generation of power plants.
According to the agency, even without the action, the power plants that are currently projected to be built going forward would already comply with the standard. As a result, the EPA does not project additional cost for industry to comply with this standard.
EPA’s comment period will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.
Further information can be found through the EPA's website