EPA releases new power plant carbon emission standards

On Monday, June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the long-awaited new standards for existing power plant carbon emissions. According to researchers, power plants are some of the heaviest polluters in the entire country, responsible for nearly 40 percent of the carbon dioxide that is emitted by the U.S. on a yearly basis. The new regulations aim to greatly reduce the pollution that is created by these plants.

The new EPA standards would cut carbon emissions of existing power plants by 30 percent within the next 16 years, with a full 25 percent reduction by the year 2020. While the new standards will be overseen by the federal government, the agency is leaving it up to states as to how they will achieve these climate goals. Plants will be given the option of either having energy-efficient equipment installed, or switching to a more environmentally sustainable source such as natural gas.

"The benefit of flexibility is always to couple it with strong ambitious targets, and that's what we'll spend a lot of time digging into," Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, told the Wall Street Journal. "That will be our big concern between now and when the rule goes final—making sure it is strong enough."

EPA chief Gina McCarthy is expected to give a press conference outlining the details of this new plan sometime on Monday, June 2. The information released thus far is an initial draft, as President Obama has requested that the federal agency have its new regulations finalized by June 2015.

If you are a Maryland resident and want to reduce your own negative environmental impact, be sure to schedule an energy audit with Alban Inspections as soon as possible!