US EPA Releases Clean Power Plan Proposal
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal today. This is the first attempt to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States.
"Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source--power plants," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. We don't have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment--our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs."
According to the EPA, power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are already standards for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.
By 2030, the EPA is planning to:
- Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
- Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
- Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits; and
- Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
Also included in today's proposal is a flexible timeline for states to follow for submitting plans to the agency—with plans due in June 2016, with the option to use a two-step process for submitting final plans if more time is needed. States that have already invested in energy efficiency programs will be able to build on these programs during the compliance period to help make progress toward meeting their goal.
Today's announcement marks the beginning of the second phase of the agency's outreach efforts.
Read more at the US EPA Newsroom.
Power plant image via Shutterstock.