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Categorized under: Power Plants

In a Reversal, EPA Maintains Standard for Coal-Fired Power Plants Based on CCS

Yet, in a last-minute attempt to protect industry, says power plants are the only sources whose climate emissions can be regulated

After proposing to repeal the first ever U.S. greenhouse gas standards issued in 2015 for coal-fired power plants – which are based on partial carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) – EPA decided to leave them in place. In its 2018 proposal, the Agency unconvincingly argued that the costs and geographic availability of CCS precluded it from being the basis for standards for any new coal plants that are built in the United States. In order to ensure that new plants are built as cleanly as possible, the Clean Air Act requires maximum feasible control based on the best system of emission reduction. “We are pleased that EPA heeded our comments and abandoned its unjustifiable attempt to set standards based on meager and decades-old efficiency measures when CCS is proven,” said CATF attorney, Jay Duffy.

However, in a last-minute attempt to cement its legacy as climate-deniers, the Trump EPA determined that no industry other than the power sector emits enough greenhouse gases to justify performance standards. In the face of the current climate crisis and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, the Agency’s conclusion is absurd. Even sectors, which contribute a small percentage of emissions may still be emitting a significant quantity of emissions and significantly endangering public health. Moreover, because EPA did not propose anything remotely related to a threshold for regulating climate pollution, the rule, set to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, violates important notice and comment requirements.

“This unlawful rule is a transparent attempt to erect roadblocks to protecting public health and the environment for the new administration, but Clean Air Task Force and its partners will not be deterred,” said Duffy.

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