EPA rolls out guidelines to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants

September 23, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency rolled out guidelines for newly built power plants designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions last week.

The EPA’s proposed standards say that all new power plants must be built with available clean technology to reduce their carbon dioxide output.

EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck laid out the guidelines under the Clean Air Act. “For gas fired plants they would not be able to emit more than 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour, and for new coal plants its 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. That is important, because right now power plant operators can emit an unlimited amount of CO2 emission.”

Enck says if approved the plans will help combat climate change, potentially improving public health, and that New York State will continue to provide a national lead as its already has strict air pollution laws in place. “Climate change is so immense and so important it’s really impossible to address it on a state by state level, so we really do need national standards. Most states have not done as much as New York has done so this is leveling the playing field.”

The EPA is expected to issue a proposal for existing power plants to reduce carbon pollution by June 2014. Enck says those plans are likely to be more complicated.