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Official: New EPA clean coal plant rules would cut CO2 emissions in half

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Old Coal

This summer, President Obama called for cleaner coal power plants and started what critics called the “War on Coal.” Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made it official by proposing new pollution standards for new power plants under the Clean Air Act. The agency also announced it would take steps to make old plants cleaner, but that’s much less defined. The EPA’s proposal is in line with the President’s Climate Action Plan and would be the very first uniform national limits on CO2 emissions from new power plants.

How clean will new plants need to be? 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour for new coal plants would be the limit. Large natural gas electricity plants would need to be a bit cleaner, at 1,000 pounds, while small natural gas turbines would need to belch like coal at 1,100 pounds. NPR says the new rules would mean CO2 emissions would be cut roughly in half. The Union of Concerned Scientists says the average coal plant today “generates 3.5 million tons of CO2 per year” and adds, “coal pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned.”

The EPA says the proposal is intended to “combat climate change and improve public health,” but we’re interested in it more for how it’s going to make plug-in vehicles even cleaner. Even today, EVs at their coal-burning worst are generally cleaner than the best gas-powered vehicles. Using these new rules, the balance would shift even further in the plug-in’s direction, thought it might increase the cost of electricity. There are more details in the EPA’s press release below.

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New EPA clean coal plant rules would cut CO2 emissions in half originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 20 Sep 2013 10:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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