EPA Excluded Existing Natural Gas Power Plants From Proposed Carbon Rule

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ie. EPA excluded existing natural gas power plants from proposed carbon rule on Thursday its decision to exclude existing natural gas power plants from its forthcoming carbon regulations, slated for finalization in April. This move marks a significant shift from the initial proposal, which aimed to impose strict controls on these facilities.

The electric sector had raised concerns regarding the feasibility of implementing the proposed regulations, questioning the EPA’s authority to mandate technologies that are neither economically viable nor technically feasible for widespread adoption. While some environmental groups expressed disappointment at this exclusion, citing the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA affirmed its commitment to finalizing standards to curtail carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal and new gas-fired power plants.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan emphasized the agency’s intention to adopt a comprehensive approach, covering the entire fleet of natural gas-fired turbines in future regulations. This broader framework will also address a wider range of pollutants, including climate, toxic, and criteria air pollution.

EPA excluded existing natural gas power plants from proposed carbon rule

In May of last year, the EPA proposed standards aimed at incentivizing power companies to adopt carbon capture equipment or utilize super-low-emissions hydrogen as a fuel. These standards apply to both existing and new gas-fired power plants, with projected emissions reductions of 617 million tonnes of carbon between 2028 and 2042.

However, industry feedback raised doubts about the legal basis for mandating technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration and hydrogen cofiring, given their limited use. The Edison Electric Institute, representing investor-owned utilities, highlighted significant challenges posed by the proposed regulations for existing natural gas generation.

Stakeholder Engagement and Future Plans

Acknowledging industry concerns, EPA General Counsel Emily Sanford Fisher indicated that the agency is likely to repropose regulations for existing natural gas units after finalizing the current rule. Meanwhile, environmental groups, such as the Clean Air Task Force, expressed disappointment at the delay in regulating existing gas plants, emphasizing the urgency of controlling greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

Regan assured stakeholders of further engagement through a subsequent comment period, promising a stronger and more durable approach in the new proposal. Overall, revised regulations, that is, EPA excluded existing natural gas power plants from the proposed carbon rule, will not only address carbon dioxide emissions but also encompass a broader spectrum of criteria pollutants and air toxics, reflecting the EPA’s commitment to comprehensive environmental stewardship.

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  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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