EPA to be 'flexible' on carbon standards

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Monday said her agency would give states great flexibility in meeting new requirements for carbon emissions from power plants.

ADVERTISEMENT
The coming standards for both existing and proposed coal-fired power plants have been criticized by Republicans, who say the new rules will hurt the economy. The new rules are especially anticipated in the heavy coal producing states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

"EPA next June will propose new standards that will also provide significant flexibility to the states that will protect public health from carbon pollution from existing power plants," McCarthy said on Monday at the liberal Center for American Progress event. 

"That will give opportunities to reduce power plant emissions."

McCarthy said the agency would be "really flexible on the implementation of these standards" with states.

And nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states are asking for just that.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative called on the EPA on Monday to allow states to follow "flexible market-based carbon pollution programs."

The nine states have cut carbon dioxide emission by 40 percent since 2005 and want the EPA to let them develop a plan that will work for their region.
 
They ask for the ability to develop a "mass-based system of compliance, to demonstrate compliance on a regional-basis and on a multi-year basis," when establishing a common target to limit emissions.
 
While next summer the EPA's proposal for rules on existing power plants is expected, McCarthy said June is "not a deadline" for finalizing rules on new power plants.