New EPA rules focus on emissions reduction for power plants

June 10, 2014 0 By Stephen Vagus

Power Plant - Emissions Reduction

EPA institutes new rules targeting the country’s power plants

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to tackle carbon emissions produced by the country’s power plants. The vast majority of the country’s electrical power is currently produced by power plants burning fossil-fuels. These facilities are responsible for a significant amount of emissions and the federal agency is keen to place a limit on the emissions that these power plants produce on a yearly basis. The EPA believes that more stringent regulation of these emissions will help the U.S. reach its overarching emissions reduction goals in the future.

Some question whether or not EPA has the power to regulate emissions

The issue of power plant emissions has been somewhat controversial in recent years. In 2007, the Massachusetts v. EPA case called into question the EPA’s authority in regulating the emissions produced from vehicles. While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal agency did, indeed, have the authority to regulate emissions relating to transportation, new questions arose concerning the agency’s ability to regulate emissions produced by power plants. Typically, the regulation of emissions is heavily related to climate change and environmentalism, two subjects that are very controversial in nature and have become highly politicized.

US power plants produce more than 40% of the country’s emissions

Currently, power plants producing electrical power in the U.S. are able to produce unlimited amounts of carbon emissions. These power plants represent more than 40% of all emissions within the U.S., producing more than the air and land transportation sectors combined. The new rules from the EPA aim to reduce these emissions produced by power plants in every state by 30% by 2030. Per the new rules, states will have to take steps in encouraging power plants to reduce emissions, such as instituting new energy efficiency requirements.

Federal government growing more aggressive with its energy plans

The new rules from the EPA are part of an overarching plan from the Obama administration. The federal government is growing bolder with its efforts to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change and has begun to heavily support renewable energy, energy efficiency, and emissions reduction. Some have criticized these efforts as not being aggressive enough, while others argue that the federal government is trying to overextend its role in state governance by introducing new energy standards.

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