EPA to Regulate Power Plant Carbon Emissions

     WASHINGTON (CN) – In his most recent move to address climate change, President Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to draft new regulations on carbon pollution emitted by the nation’s power plants, causing a rift between proponents of traditional power and proponents of renewable energy.
     The regulations will address “flexible carbon pollution standards for future power plants,” and new regulations for “modified, reconstructed and existing” power plants, which are the source of 40 percent of all carbon pollution, according to Obama’s Tuesday memorandum.
     Obama said the move is in conjunction with other actions already underway within the auto industry. Provisions of the Clean Air Act limit greenhouse gas emissions of new cars and light trucks through 2025 and heavy-duty trucks through 2018.
     “The EPA standards were promulgated in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, which, at the time, established fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks as part of a harmonized national program,” Obama stated in his memorandum.
     The president said he aims to draft and put into place a complicated set of regulations for power plants in just two years, to meet his pledge of reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, according to a June 25 New York Times report.
     Obama wants proposed new regulations for existing power plants by June 1, 2014, with final approval by June 1, 2015, according to his memorandum. Existing power plants would have until June 30, 2016 to come into compliance.
     The EPA published its proposal for regulations concerning future power plants on April 13, 2012, receiving over two million comments. Obama said he wants a new proposal submitted no later than Sept. 20, 2013, with a final regulation issued “in a timely fashion.”
     Conservatives do not support the measures, according to the New York Times, with Republicans citing a government overreach they say will “constrict energy production and strangle the nation’s economic recovery.”
     House Speaker John A. Boehner condemned Obama’s plan.
     “These policies, rejected even by the last Democratic-controlled Congress, will shutter power plants, destroy good-paying, American jobs and raise electricity bills,” he said in a statement.
     The White House Blog records support for Obama’s measures by power corporations around the country.
     “We applaud the President and his administration for their commitment to renewable energy and conservation. Investing in renewable energy and energy conservation are good for business, good for communities and good for the environment.” said Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke.
     Honeywell International Inc., a company that invents and manufactures clean energy technology, says it is on board with the effort to raise the bar in terms of energy efficiency.
     Business Roundtable “recognizes the potential consequences of climate change and supports both government and private sector actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. The president’s proposals today are a mix of common sense steps we can all support – such as increasing energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy – and measures that will require additional careful attention to ensure they can be deployed in an equitable and effective global framework,” said Honeywell Chairman and CEO, and Business Roundtable Energy and Environment Committee Chairman Dave Cote.
     Business Roundtable, or BRT, is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies that, collectively, report over $7.3 trillion in annual revenue, giving more than $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.
     Its members claim to be the “first broad-based business group to call for action on climate change.”
     Cote added that he and the committee “look forward to reviewing how the administration plans to regulate emissions from existing power plants.”

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