EPA Announces Controversial Limits on Power Plant Emissions

A year and 2.5 million public comments after the Obama Administration first proposed setting limits for the emission of carbon dioxide by power plants, the EPA is set to announce its final plan today. Could this mean the end of new coal plants?
September 20, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"It’s been a long time coming, but, finally, the EPA is going to begin tackling carbon pollution from the world’s single greatest contributor to climate change — the U.S. power sector," write Lisa Hymas and Chip Giller. "In an interview with Grist, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the proposed regulations for new plants are not intended to push coal out of the energy mix. Still, the standards are pretty strict. The EPA had released an earlier version of them in March of last year, then decided to rework them, but this new set of regs still takes a hard line with coal."

Though the rules expected to be announced today only cover new power plants, the EPA is working to establish limits on existing plants by next year. "Aides said Ms. McCarthy would also announce a yearlong schedule for an environmental listening tour — a series of meetings across the country with the public, the industry and environmental groups as the agency works to establish emissions limits on existing power plants — a far more costly and controversial step," reports Michael D. Shear in The New York Times

"Utility and coal companies and their congressional allies are complaining about the rules for new plants, but what they’re really worried about is the future crackdown on old plants," add Hymas and Giller. "Industry groups are sure to sue over the rules, both these new-plant ones and the existing-plant ones that will be released next year."

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