The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today introduced standards to limit greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants. These standards, called New Source Performance Standards, would limit emissions from new power plants to no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. This action is based the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act, which was passed with bi-partisan support in Congress and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Following is a statement by Kevin Kennedy, U.S. Climate Director, World Resources Institute:

“For the first time, EPA has proposed standards to reduce harmful carbon pollution from power plants. The power sector produces one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s critical to reduce these emissions if we’re going to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

“These standards will ensure that any new power plants will be designed to protect people’s health and the planet. A quarter of the nation’s fossil fuel-based generation capacity is more than 40 years old, and many plants are approaching retirement. Any plants built today would likely be standing in 2050 and beyond, making strong rules for new plants an important part of the picture.

“We commend EPA for this step to advance the Administration’s commitment to reduce U.S. emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Today’s announcement follows the Administration’s introduction of historic standards for light-duty vehicles in November 2011.

“Moving forward, it will be important for EPA to address carbon emissions for existing power plants as well. Existing plants represent a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. We can achieve these reductions at low cost while providing power plants flexibility in complying with them.”

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For more background see Nicholas Bianco's post, "What to Watch as EPA Releases Greenhouse Gas Requirements for the Power Sector."