EPA Announces End of Coal: Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants

“EPA is proposing to take common-sense steps under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution from new power plants.” [Emphasis added]

Click for the EPA web page.

The media release is below.


March 27, 2012

EPA Proposes First Carbon Pollution Standard for Future Power Plants

Achievable standard is in line with investments already being made and will inform the building of new plants moving forward

WASHINGTON – Following a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed the first Clean Air Act standard for carbon pollution from new power plants. EPA’s 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 rule creates a path forward for new technologies to be deployed at future facilities that will allow companies to burn coal, while emitting less carbon pollution. The rulemaking proposed today 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.

“Today we’re taking a common-sense step to reduce pollution in our air, protect the planet for our children, and move us into a new era of American energy,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Right now there are no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to put into our skies – and the health and economic threats of a changing climate continue to grow. We’re putting in place a standard that relies on the use of clean, American made technology to tackle a challenge that we can’t leave to our kids and grandkids.”

Currently, there is no uniform national limit on the amount of carbon pollution new power plants can emit. As a direct result of the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling, EPA in 2009 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 proposed standard, which only applies to power plants built in the future, 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. EPA’s proposal is in line with these investments and will ensure that this progress toward a cleaner, safer and more modern power sector continues. The proposed standards can be met by a range of power facilities burning different fossil fuels, including natural gas technologies that are already widespread, as well as coal with technologies to reduce carbon emissions. Even without today’s action, the power plants that are currently projected to be built going forward would already comply with the standard. As a result, EPA does not project additional cost for industry to comply with this standard.

Prior to developing this standard, EPA engaged in an extensive and open public process to gather the latest information to aid in developing a carbon pollution standard for new power plants. The agency is seeking additional comment and information, including public hearings, and will take that input fully into account as it completes the rulemaking process. EPA’s comment period will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

More information: http://epa.gov/carbonpollutionstandard/

13 thoughts on “EPA Announces End of Coal: Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants”

  1. Long live coal and natural gas—-wind, solar, etc. still won’t turn our toasters on in the morning. I do feel we must advance the study and use of non fossil fuel energy, but get real people. We use lots of electrcity—and no windmill or solor panel can give America what it needs to run everyday.

  2. I just don’t understand why we just day NO. There are more of us then there are of them. Throw all of us in jail. Neither Zero or the epa have a switch to throw, only the power companies do. I think disObedience is in order.

  3. Dave, it doesn’t matter WHAT the science says (according to the courts). I decide that 2+2=5, now you being a smart fellow take me to court and say “2+2=4! My goodness who can’t see that!?” My turn. “Your Honor, we have been given statutory authority by the Congress to decide what 2+2 is. Thank you.” Court rules “Science is not the issue here, Defendant has been given authority, defendants recourse is legislative, not judicial.”

  4. This whole business hangs on two words—carbon pollution. Remove those two words and the proposals are nonsensical. Carbon pollution does not exist. There is no such thing as carbon pollution except in the minds of the scientifically delirious. If they mean carbon dioxide pollution, that does not exist either. Carbon dioxide cannot be described as pollution either, since it supports life. Logic still trumps power politics and/or greed.
    therefore, anyone who proposes or supports this stuff is a tad foolish

  5. The US Department of Labor is proposing new restrictions on the farm and ranches of America concerning our children.
    Farmers say updated child labor laws proposed by the US Department of Labor could have a chilling effect.
    The department says they’re just protecting kids who work on farms and ranches. Right.
    Kids under 16 would be restricted from doing some agricultural activities the department finds dangerous.
    Good ole government bureaucracy in action.
    EPA has nothing on the Dept. of Labor.

  6. Obama recently said on television (thinking all microphones were turned off) that he would have ‘more flexibility after the election’. Unless he’s planning on being voted out, that suggests that the second act of this tragedy will be even worse, and as a lame duck, he will have nothing to lose. Even more utilities will go off-line, the Keystone pipeline won’t be built, good luck building nuclear plants. I fear for what sort of country we’ll be leaving for our children.

  7. Handel, I refer you to the rule Page 2

    “In its base case analysis, the EPA does not
    project any new coal-fired EGUs without CCS to be built in the
    absence of this proposal through 2030.”

    Science does not lie, but assumptions carry the day. This states outright that they have a no-coal future planned as their “base case”. That taints their entire analysis

  8. The 1000 lb/MWH effectively bans building coal and single-cycle natural gas generation. I hardly see this as reasonable and I do see it as quite radical.

    In fact, on Page 2, they suggest using a 30-year average on emissions so that you can implement your CCS technology.

    I can’t even get through the summary without wanting to cry.

  9. Yeah, it doesn’t sound radical:
    “Even without today’s action, the power plants that are currently projected to be built going forward would already comply with the standard. As a result, EPA does not project additional cost for industry to comply with this standard”…
    Would you please explain me what is the purpose of a standard defined in such a way?

  10. Exactly as the Alinsky Rules for Radicals suggests. Sound like a moderate. Act like what you’re doing is “quite sensible” — but the reality is that this is the nose in the camel’s tent toward outlawing coal-fired power plants in the future by simply tightening the rule or extending the rule to apply to more plants. Obama, during his 2008 campaign said, “If they want to build [coal fired plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them.” (Reported 11/3/2008).

    This is the first step. If Obama is re-elected, he won’t be constrained by upset voters, and he’ll implement his stated policy.

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