NCLCV Applauds Stringent New EPA Power Plant Pollution Rules

Duke Energy’s Proposed Gas Buildout Makes No Sense in Light of New Carbon Rules

The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters praised the tough new power plant pollution rules released today in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rules, announced by EPA Administrator Michael Regan, will slash carbon pollution from coal-fired plants and new gas-fired power plants, as well as safeguarding communities against coal ash, mercury, arsenic, soot, toxic wastewater, and other health-harming pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The EPA’s strong carbon pollution power plant standards and the Inflation Reduction Act are projected to lead to a 75% reduction below 2005 levels in carbon pollution by 2035, and mandate a 90% reduction long term. In 2035 the carbon standards would save 1,200 lives and avert 360,000 cases of asthma symptoms, while avoiding 48,000 school absence days and 57,000 lost workdays.

“These rules make it clear that burning fossil fuels threatens our health and our climate, so we must transition to cleaner energy sources. In light of these new rules, Duke Energy’s plan to build record amounts of expensive, dirty gas plants makes absolutely no sense – except when you consider Duke’s highly paid executives and record profits,” said Michelle (Meech) Carter, director of clean energy campaigns for NCLCV. “Collectively, these rules represent a historic step forward for tackling the climate crisis and protecting our air, water, and the health of our communities, especially the health of environmental justice communities, from the impacts of dirty fossil fuel power plants.”

In addition to the carbon rules, the mercury and air toxics standards will create $300 million in health benefits and $130 million in climate benefits by 2037. Additionally, the coal ash standards will protect communities by requiring the cleanup of at least 278 sites–including 15 sites in NC–that have either legacy coal ash ponds or old, unregulated landfills. Finally, the wastewater standards will cut 660 million pounds of toxic wastewater pollution.

Duke Energy was fined $102 million in 2014 for illegally dumping coal ash in the Dan River, which is linked to contaminated water and health problems. A 2022 study found coal ash pollution may be more widespread in North Carolina, with four in five lakes near Duke Energy coal plants showing contamination.

“President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan deserve thanks for finalizing strong standards that will protect public health, address environmental injustices, and cut climate pollution,” said Carrie Clark, executive director of NCLCV. “These final rules once again underscore that
the Biden-Harris administration is delivering on their promises and prioritizing the health of our families and environment, especially in communities on the front lines of fossil fuel pollution, which are disproportionately communities of color and communities of low wealth.”


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