Monday, July 1, 2013

Draft rule to limit GHG emissions from future power plants at White House

The Environmental Protection Agency, moving quickly in the aftermath of President Obama's announcement last week of administration plans to combat climate change, has sent a draft rule that limits future power plant emissions of greenhouse gases to the White House.

According to a report in The Hill, a newspaper focused on the work of Congress, the proposed regulation is now in the hands of the Office of Management and Budget. OMB, along with other agencies of the federal government, will weigh in on the rule before returning it to EPA by September 20.

EPA missed an April deadline for finalizing the rule, which it had first proposed in March 2012. 

Utilities have objected to the proposed regulation on grounds that it set pollution standards that are not achievable with current technology. Republicans in Congress, as well as some Democrats, have also expressed concern that it will hurt the economy by increasing the cost of energy.

The draft rule would require natural gas-fired power plants and coal-fired power plants to meet the same pollution limits. While natural gas plants would be unlikely to have difficulty doing so, generation facilities that rely on coal would be forced to integrate a mechanism that captures carbon dioxide emissions before they enter the atmosphere.

Coal burning accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. electricity production and is the nation's single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.