EPA floats emissions cuts for gas plants
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is floating ways to cut planet-warming emissions for gas-fired power plants as it waits for a Supreme Court ruling that could limit its regulatory power.
The agency on Thursday issued a new technical “white paper” that laid out potential ways to limit the plants’ contributions to climate change.
These methods include efficiency improvements, co-firing natural gas with other fuels like hydrogen and implementing carbon capture technology to prevent the plants’ emissions from going into the air and heating up the planet.
The agency said in a statement that its paper is not “targeted” to any specific policy, it expects the paper to help inform its future rulemaking efforts.
The paper comes ahead of an anticipated Supreme Court ruling that could limit the scope of its authority to regulate power plants’ climate contributions.
The court is weighing whether the agency can attempt to reshape parts of the economy like the energy sector through regulation, or if its powers are confined to the source of the climate pollution.
EPA administrator Michael Regan indicated to Congress that he was awaiting that decision to move ahead with power plant regulations, saying “we’re going to be ready to go as soon as the Supreme Court rules,” he said.
Power plant regulations have been at the center of a major partisan battle. The Obama administration put forward a “Clean Power Plan” that sought to limit emissions from both coal and gas plants.
It also sought to set emissions targets aiming to move away from coal plants in particular.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration repealed that plan and only put forward regulations for coal plants. The Trump plan was expected to have significantly fewer climate benefits than the Obama plan.
The Obama plan was held up by the Supreme Court, while a federal court struck the Trump plan, meaning neither is currently in place.