In encouraging news, The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to place gas limits on new power stations. This announcement will further boost alternative energy production. The republicans have opposed this announcement, stating that it will further increase energy prices.
News Source: CHRON
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed its first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants on Tuesday, further boosting natural gas while dealing conventional coal-fired electricity another blow.
Republicans and industry groups vowed to fight a rule they claim would raise electricity prices and endanger a cheap form of electricity generated by coal. Democrats and environmental activists praised the rule for power plants – which EPA says are the largest individual sources of greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S.
“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,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “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.”
If finalized, the rule would become the latest step by the Obama EPA toward reducing emissions that most climate scientists warn are causing average global temperatures to rise by enhancing the greenhouse effect. Already the EPA has finalized fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks and buses and proposed doubling passenger vehicle mileage.
Carbon dioxide limits
EPA’s proposed rule would set an emissions limit on new power plants of 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of power. Jackson said many fossil-fuel facilities can comply, including modern natural-gas plants and coal plants equipped to capture some of their carbon emissions. Coal plants that don’t start out with carbon-capture technologies could average their emissions over 30 years, Jackson said.
The rule, which must undergo public comment before it’s finalized, wouldn’t apply to power plants already operating or built over the next 12 months, Jackson told reporters by phone. The agency has no plans to propose rules for existing plants, she said.
While a plurality of U.S. power comes from coal, its market share has declined because of factors including low natural-gas prices, aging plants and environmental regulations. Jackson said the EPA’s rule would cement the industry’s ongoing shift toward natural gas, which emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal.
EPA must issue the greenhouse gas rule for power plants under a court agreement with environmental groups and states. The agency has delayed proposing it beyond the original deadline of July 2011.
While environmentalists cheered Tuesday’s announcement, many have fought for a more sweeping policy. They pushed legislation in 2010 that would have set greenhouse gas caps and created a market for trading emissions permits, but the bill failed in Congress amid GOP opposition.
Republicans complained that the EPA is seeking to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions under authority that Congress didn’t give it, and argued the rule would doom coal power.
In the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions fall under the Clean Air Act’s definition of a pollutant. In 2009, the EPA determined that the pollutants threatened public health and welfare, authorizing the agency to regulate the emissions.