EPA sets strict emissions standards for coal

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2013- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today announced new Clean Air Act standards to cut carbon emissions from new power plants and also proposed plans to establish carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.

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The proposal dramatically restricts the carbon dioxide emissions of any new coal-powered plant. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said even the cleanest coal-fired electricity technology available today would not be able to meet the standards. 

“Sadly, electricity consumers will pay the price, making our economy less competitive in the global market place,” Whitfield said.

The agency's proposed standards are meant ensure that new power plants are built with available technology to limit carbon pollution and that the future power plants use energy technologies the EPA prefers, including natural gas, “advanced” coal technology, nuclear power, and renewable energy like wind and solar, according to the announcement.

“By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “These standards will also spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy.”

EPA's comment period on today's proposal will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA is rescinding its previous April 2012 emissions proposal.

Senator Deb Fischer, R-Neb., noted it a statement today that nearly two-thirds of all Nebraska electricity is produced from coal-fired plants.

“Without significant reductions from China and India - the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters - it's reasonable to conclude any environmental benefit would be seriously outweighed by economic costs,” she said. “That said, there is one thing that is perfectly clear: Nebraskans' access to affordable, reliable electricity will be jeopardized.”

EPA said it will issue proposed standards for existing power plants by June 1, 2014. The new standards are proposed under President Obama's Climate Action Plan, announced at Georgetown University on June 25.

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