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Biden's EPA proposes limits on power plants' greenhouse gas emissions

This is the Biden administration's most ambitious effort yet to reduce pollution from the nation's second-largest contributor.
Biden's EPA proposes limits on power plants' greenhouse gas emissions
Posted at 2:34 PM, May 11, 2023

The Biden administration has proposed a set of new regulations aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions originating from power plants.

Under the proposed plan released by the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, coal and new natural gas-fired plants would be mandated to cut their fossil fuel emissions.

In order to achieve this, power plants would need to adopt technology that is not currently widely utilized within the United States, to capture emissions produced from their smokestacks.

"By proposing new standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants, EPA is delivering on its mission to reduce harmful pollution that threatens people’s health and wellbeing," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in a statement. "EPA’s proposal relies on proven, readily available technologies to limit carbon pollution and seizes the momentum already underway in the power sector to move toward a cleaner future. Alongside historic investment taking place across America in clean energy manufacturing and deployment, these proposals will help deliver tremendous benefits to the American people — cutting climate pollution and other harmful pollutants, protecting people’s health, and driving American innovation."

SEE MORE: What is the air quality like where you live?

If these regulations are implemented, it would mark a historic moment as the federal government would be imposing restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants for the very first time. The impact of the plan would be substantial, eliminating an estimated 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by the year 2042. This reduction is equivalent to removing 137 million cars from the road, according to the EPA.

Currently, power plants account for 25% of the nation's greenhouse gas pollution, positioning them as the second-largest contributor after the transportation sector, which accounts for 28%.

According to the EPA, the proposal has the potential to prevent nearly 1,300 premature deaths, over 800 hospital and emergency room visits, more than 300,000 asthma attacks, 38,000 school absence days, and 66,000 lost workdays in 2030 alone.

The proposed carbon pollution standards would yield up to $85 billion in climate and public health benefits within the next twenty years, says the EPA. 

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