September 23, 2013

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On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new Clean Air Act regulations to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated that these regulations are intended to slow the effects of climate change and promote a safe and healthy environment.  Some industry opponents have expressed concern that compliance with the new standards will be technologically impossible because the necessary pollution-reducing technology is not yet available on a commercial scale.

Under EPA’s proposed regulations, new large natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, and would have the option to meet a somewhat more stringent limit if they choose to average emissions over multiple years, giving those units additional operational flexibility.

EPA is seeking comment on the proposed regulations and will hold a public hearing. The comment period will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. EPA is rescinding its April 2012 proposed regulations limiting carbon emissions by fossil fuel plants.

EPA’s complete proposal is available here.