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Power Plant Rules

Power Plant Emissions Limits Are an Important Step

New limits on power plant carbon emissions mark an important step toward controlling their contribution to climate-changing air pollution.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed new rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing and new electric power plants over the next 20 years. These direct pollution limits draw on the EPA’s traditional regulatory authority under the Clean Air Act, meeting the standards laid out by the US Supreme Court when it struck down the Biden Administration’s previous Clean Power Plan. Reaction was largely positive from environmental groups, and negative from fossil fuel advocates. 

“The NC League of Conservation Voters believes the proposed rules to limit carbon pollution from new & existing fossil-fueled power plants are an important step in the right direction for cleaner air and healthier communities for North Carolinians,” said Dan Crawford, Director of Governmental Relations for the NC League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV). “We appreciate this effort by President Biden and Administrator Regan, and urge the EPA to finalize the strongest possible rules by early next year. Additionally, these rules will help inform the ongoing work by the NC Utilities Commission to implement the carbon plan signed last year by Gov. Roy Cooper.”

In its news release, EPA said that its proposed rule would avoid up to 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution from regulated coal and methane gas power plants through 2042. Those cuts would deliver $85 billion in net climate and health benefits, including reductions in premature deaths, hospital visits, asthma attacks, and school and work absence days. 

“By proposing new standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants, EPA is delivering on its mission to reduce harmful pollution that threatens people’s health and wellbeing,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA’s proposal relies on proven, readily available technologies to limit carbon pollution and seizes the momentum already underway in the power sector to move toward a cleaner future.” 

“Kudos to President Biden and Administrator Regan for this important step. Limiting pollution from power plants is long-overdue, widely supported and will lead to cleaner air, healthier communities, and a livable climate,” said Matthew Davis, Vice President of Federal Policy for the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). “The power sector is one of our nation’s largest sources of climate pollution yet is virtually unchecked, and the EPA has an obligation under the Clean Air Act to set and effectively enforce limits.” He added that it was important for the final rules to be “shaped by input from the communities that will be most affected.”

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