Carbon Pollution Limits for New Power Plants Would Address Climate Change

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 6:55 pm | Updated: 7:04 pm, Tue Feb 11, 2014.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed limits on carbon pollution from future power plants are realistic, would deliver real results and have attracted broad support nationwide, experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council recently said in a public hearing. The EPA held a daylong hearing in Washington to take public comments on its proposed standard to limit carbon pollution from power plants that are built in the future.

The new source standard is part of a national climate strategy President Obama announced last summer. Next, the EPA is scheduled to propose by June cutting carbon pollution from the nation’s roughly 600 existing power plants. Power plants are responsible for 40 percent of the nation’s carbon footprint and are a driving force behind climate change.

In his statement, here, David Doniger, Policy Director, Climate and Clean Air Program at NRDC, says EPA’s authority to curb carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act is clear, and bolstered by two U.S. Supreme Court actions.

“EPA is fully justified in setting standards for new power plants under Section 111(b),” said David Doniger, Policy Director, Climate and Clean Air Program at NRDC. “EPA has made the science-based determination that emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that endangers public health and welfare. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the endangerment determination, and as noted the Supreme Court refused all challenges to it. Power plants, being responsible for 40 percent of the nation’s CO2 pollution, are the most significant contributor to that greenhouse gas air pollution. The endangerment determination, coupled with information on the scale of power plant carbon pollution, fully supports the setting of Section 111 standards.”

In his statement, David Hawkins, Director of Climate Programs at NRDC, said EPA’s proposal rests on solid technical, economic and legal grounds, and bases its emission standards for new coal energy production on partial carbon capture technology, coupled with geologic sequestration of the captured carbon.

“CCS systems have three components, all of which have been demonstrated in commercial, industrial-scale applications for decades,” said Hawkins. “…[The] commercial experience proves that carbon capture is demonstrated technology for commercial-scale industrial facilities and that systems to transport and inject captured CO2 in amounts relevant to the power sector are also demonstrated.”

SOURCE: Natural Resources Defense Council

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