Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for new and modified power plants to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The EPA is legally required to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. This marks the last stage of review before a proposed rule is released for public comment.

Following is a statement by Nicholas Bianco, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute:

“The EPA has taken us a step closer to enacting standards that will help revamp America’s power sector. Power plants represent a third of the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, so it is vital for EPA to make use of the tools available to reduce emissions from this sector. As the existing fleet of power plants ages, new rules are needed to ensure that newer plants will be cleaner, more efficient, and less carbon intensive.

“Moving forward it will also be important to see how EPA addresses existing power plants. According to our analysis, there are considerable opportunities to reduce emissions from the existing fleet. These reductions are essential to meet our national commitment to cut GHG emissions by 17 percent by 2020 (compared to 2005 levels).

“As the world’s emissions continue to rise, we look to the EPA to fulfill its responsibility to protect the environment and people’s health.”