New EPA rules will force fossil fuel power plants to cut pollution

New EPA rules will force fossil fuel power plants to cut pollution

APRIL 25, 2024
4:47 PM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday released a sweeping set of rules aimed at cutting air, water and land pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Environmental and clean energy groups celebrated the announcement as long overdue, particularly for coal-burning power plants, which have saddled hundreds of communities across the country with dirty air and hundreds of millions of tons of toxic coal ash waste. The ash has leached a host of toxins – including arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium, radium and other pollutants – into ground and surface water.

“Today is the culmination of years of advocacy for common-sense safeguards that will have a direct impact on communities long forced to suffer in the shadow of the dirtiest power plants in the country,” said Ben Jealous, executive director of the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s oldest and largest environmental organizations. “It is also a major step forward in our movement’s fight to decarbonize the electric sector and help avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

But some electric industry and pro-coal organizations blasted the rules as a threat to jobs and electric reliability at a time when power demands are surging. They also criticized the rule’s reliance on largely unproven carbon capture technologies.

America’s Power, a trade organization for the nation’s fleet of about 400 coal power plants across 42 states, called the number of new rules “unprecedented,” singling out the new emissions standards that will force existing coal plants to cut their carbon emissions by 90% by the 2032 if they intend to keep running past 2039.  Michelle Bloodworth, the group’s president and CEO, called the rule “an extreme and unlawful overreach that endangers America’s supply of dependable and affordable electricity.”


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