The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday proposed changes to limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants.
The proposed “Best System of Emission Reduction” would replace a 2015 rule that identified partial carbon capture and storage. The new proposal states partial carbon capture and storage is too costly, with limited geographic availability.
The EPA proposal includes limiting carbon dioxide emissions based on steam cycle. For larger units the emission rate would be limited to 1900 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour and for smaller units it would be 2,000 pounds. There would also be a separate standard of performance for newly constructed or reconstructed coal units: the emission rate would be 2,200 pounds regardless of the size of the unit.
The EPA is also taking comments on its interpretation of what “causes or contributes significantly to” air pollution and whether the requirement should apply differently in the context of greenhouse gases than for traditional pollutants.
EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler released a statement accompanying the proposal:
Consistent with President Trump’s executive order promoting energy independence, EPA’s proposal would rescind excessive burdens on America’s energy providers and level the playing field so that new energy technologies can be a part of America’s future. … By replacing onerous regulations with high, yet achievable, standards, we can continue America’s historic energy production, keep energy prices affordable, and encourage new investments in cutting-edge technology that can then be exported around the world.
Many environmentalists oppose the proposed changes. Representative Don Beyer from Northern Virginia tweeted that the proposed changes are: “Absurd, dangerous incompetence.”
The comment period will be open for 60 days once it is officially released on the Federal Register, and a public hearing will be held.