US to place limits on emissions at new power plants
By Jean-Louis Santini, AFPWASHINGTON--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed on Friday to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, in a bid to implement U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to fight climate change.
September 22, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
The move marks the “first milestone” of a major part of the Climate Action Plan announced in June by the U.S. leader, the agency said in a statement.
“Climate change is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said.
“By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children.”
The plan foresees that new, large natural gas-fired turbines emit no more than 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms) of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, while new, small natural gas-fired turbines would have to emit no more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide during that same timeframe.
New coal-fired units, meanwhile, would not be allowed to exceed 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, with “the option to meet a somewhat tighter limit if they choose to average emissions over multiple years.”
Together, natural gas and coal-fired power plants account for roughly a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The average advanced coal plant currently emits about 1,800 pounds of carbon per hour, according to industry figures.
Mixed Reaction from Environmentalists, Industry
The proposed new standards, which will undergo a 60-day public comment period, also seek to ensure that new power plants are built with clean technology to keep carbon pollution to a minimum, according to the EPA.
“These standards will also spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy,” McCarthy said.
The proposal has been warmly received by environmental groups and a number of his fellow Democrats — but decried by groups that represent industry interests.