Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants Proposed

Earthjustice celebrates this long overdue action to protect our climate


Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5221

Today, the Obama administration proposed first ever standards to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. Power plants are the biggest polluters driving climate change, and there are currently no limits on their carbon emissions. Scientists have linked climate change with forest fires, droughts and flooding—increasing the number multi-billion dollar disasters from superstorms we now experience on a yearly basis.

The proposed standards would require any new coal-fired power plants to employ carbon capture and sequestration technology. The proposed standard for coal-fired plants is 1100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. For gas fired power plants, the proposed standard is 1000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. Because gas-fired power plants can easily achieve greater emissions reductions, Earthjustice will be urging the EPA to finalize stronger standards for gas plants.

Americans already have spoken out in record numbers in favor of the new carbon pollution standards, submitting more than 3 million comments on a similar proposal previously issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. After the proposed rules are published in the federal register, the public will have 90-days to submit comments once again.

Trip Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice, made the following statement:

“For Americans who want to protect current and future generations from climate change, the rules proposed today are welcome news. Tackling carbon pollution from power plants is critical to addressing the climate crisis that we now face.

“For two decades, Earthjustice has worked to clean up air pollution from power plants that every year, kills thousands of people and gives tens of thousands more Americans asthma and other serious illnesses. Now, it’s time to limit the carbon pollution that jeopardizes the health of all Americans.

“We have no hope of warding off more storms like Sandy that are battering our cities, putting out the wildfires that are ravaging the West, and putting ourselves on track to stabilizing the climate unless we make a shift to clean energy. Preventing construction of dirty new power plants is an essential step in the right direction. Moving forward on tackling carbon pollution from existing power plants is also vital.”

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Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.