EPA releases new carbon emission standards

Under the proposed rules, states will have a variety of paths at their disposal to meet the reduced emissions requirements.

On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a draft proposal intended to aggressively tackle carbon emissions leading up to 2030. The draft rules hope to reduce power plant emissions by 30 percent from the levels recorded in 2005, and are among the most potent legislative action the United States has considered in combatting pollution.

Under the proposed rules, states will have a variety of paths at their disposal to meet the reduced emissions requirements. The Wall Street Journal reports that among those options would be state-formed cap-and-trade programs, as well as the implementation of newer renewable energy technologies.

Different states will be given different requirements depending on their level of industrial activity, but sources close to the proposed bill say that the intent is to reduce the national average by about 25 percent by 2020 and another 5 percent by 2030.

Though the proposal could change the way the power industry works at a fundamental level, the rules still need to pass through open commenting period before they are enacted. Considerable pushback is likely, as the Chamber of Commerce released a report on May 27 indicating the proposed action could cost upwards of $51 billion annually up to 2030.

Obviously, any mention of the term climate change as it relates to U.S. politics is likely to cause considerable debate. However, the new rules come after a separate White House report in May further validated the link between climate change and human activity, showing that it could cause considerable damage to future generations if no action is taken. The rule changes may also be an attempt by the Obama administration to make good on campaign promises aimed at improving the environment.

In 2013, following new carbon emission requirements EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “Climate change is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time. By taking common sense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children. These standards will also spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy.”

For more on environmental law and regulation check out these stories:

Recyclers beware: You are exempt only if you can prove it

Compliance: Tell me how to read an environmental report

EPA loses legal battle over Navistar’s EGR engine

Managing Editor

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Chris DiMarco

Chris DiMarco, Managing Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, has a background in multimedia production with previous involvement in projects in which he developed and created content for...

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