EPA expected to unveil power plant climate standards on Tuesday

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to unveil long-awaited greenhouse gas standards for new power plants on Tuesday, an administration official said.

The draft rules, which have been delayed for months, are under attack from Capitol Hill Republicans and the party’s leading White House hopefuls, who want to strip EPA’s power to regulate the emissions.

ADVERTISEMENT
Limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants has been a longtime goal for environmental groups.

The White House Office of Management and Budget completed its review of the proposed rules on Monday, its website shows.

The Associated Press reported that the proposed rule will not apply to existing plants or plants built in the next year.

AP reported that it will give future coal plants years to meet the standard, and eventually require capture and storage of carbon emissions, a technology that has not yet been commercialized in the power sector.

The administration official confirmed the AP account, which also notes that new natural gas-fired plants – which have lower emissions than coal plants – would meet the standards without installing additional controls.

Joseph Stanko, who represents industry clients for the firm Hunton & Williams, told The Washington Post that the standard “effectively bans new coal plants.”

Plans to impose limits on existing plants are on a slower track.

Joe Mendelson, the climate and energy policy director for the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement to The Hill that the standards are a “milestone in the fight to rein in climate change that seriously threatens people and wildlife.”

“In proposing to put strict limits on industrial carbon pollution from new power plants, the EPA is taking a big step toward protecting the world our children will inherit and unleashing a future of low polluting, climate-friendly and affordable electricity,” said Mendelson, who was co-counsel in the landmark Supreme Court case that paved the way for the rules.

A 2007 Supreme Court decision subjected carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

The new rules are likely to revive attacks by congressional Republicans, who allege that regulating greenhouse gases will harm the economy.

The House last year passed GOP-led bills that would strip EPA’s power to regulate emissions from power plants and other facilities, but the measures have not advanced in the Senate.

This story was updated at 7:24 a.m.