Proposed Carbon Rules for New Power Plants: What They Are and What They Mean

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released today its long-awaited proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new power plants.

The proposed rule is important because it has the potential to dictate the fuel source for power plants for decades to come, which potentially could raise electricity prices for businesses and individuals. The rule also sets a major new environmental policy and is a high-profile step in the effort to limit carbon emissions. Most importantly, this rule sets the stage for the coming battle over CO2 limits for existing power plants–a rule with even farther reaching implications.

What the Rule Does and What It Means for Coal:

This rule, a key part of President Obama's Climate Change Agenda, is a revision of a proposal released in April 2012. Under the new plan, CO2 emissions would be limited to 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour (lbs/MWH) for coal-fired power plants, a standard that cannot be met unless a system of carbon capture and sequestration is integrated into the facility. Opponents argue that because such a system has not yet been proven and is not yet commercially available, this proposal would effectively prevent any new coal-fired power plants from being built.

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