EPA could change power plant rule significantly

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) might make major revisions to its proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions if states show they cannot meet the standards.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told Bloomberg News Tuesday she expects “significant” changes to states’ individual emissions goals before they’re made final in about a year.

ADVERTISEMENT
McCarthy said she expects “a lot of give and take with the states.” EPA used a similar procedure when developing mercury emissions limits in 2011 and made big changes before the goals were finalized, Bloomberg said.

EPA proposed Monday rules that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the country’s fossil fuel-fired power plants by 30 percent by 2030. But EPA prescribed emissions reduction goals for each state based on factors such as states’ current power fleets and their current plans to phase out high-carbon fuels.

McCarthy clarified to Bloomberg that the 30 percent figure is a estimate of what EPA thinks the country can achieve, not a goal. She said it’s “really a summary conclusion of what the pollution reduction opportunities are,” Bloomberg reported.

She also said she believes the rules will not eliminate coal as a fuel for electricity.

“This is not about getting coal out of the system. There’s still going to be there in high quantities,” she said. EPA estimated that coal would account for 30 to 31 percent of the country’s electricity, down from 39 percent.