NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

EPA Takes Aim at Coal Plants

March 28, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to introduce new rules this week that take aim at greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, says the Wall Street Journal.

The long-awaited action will sharply limit the emissions allowed from power plants built in the future, but will allow existing coal plants to keep operating for years.

  • The new rules will essentially make it unviable to build new coal-fired power plants, unless they are fitted with yet-to-be-commercialized carbon-capture technology.
  • The rules would limit the permissible emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to a little more than half of what a typical coal plant emits today, administration officials have said.

By contrast, cleaner-burning, gas-fired power plants are expected to remain viable under the rules.

The utility industry has fought hard against the rules, arguing that if new coal plants are effectively banned, the industry will be forced to forswear a cheap and plentiful source of electricity generation.  The unveiling of the rules is also likely to draw fire from Republicans and business groups.

Some environmentalists are also expected to criticize the measure, because it doesn't apply to the hundreds of coal-fired plants currently operating and gives them years to clean up.

Source: Keith Johnson, "EPA Takes Aim at Coal Plants," Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2012.

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