WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is calling for clean air standards that would force future coal-burning plants to use carbon-capture technology.
The rules would not apply to existing generating plants even as they are modified to meet other air pollutions standards. It also would not apply to new power plants that already have building permits in place or plans to start construction within 12 months of the new rules taking effect.
Still, the costs of the technology, some industry officials say, could cancel plans to build new coal-burning power plants, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Also exempt from the new standards would be coal burning plants in Hawaii or in non-continental U.S. territories.
New plants that do not burn fossil fuel would be exempt and plants that burn natural gas would operate under the radar, the EPA said, because emissions from those plants would already meet the standards.
However, "Right now there are no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to put into our skies -- and the health and economic threats of a changing climate continue to grow," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement.
"We're putting in place a standard that relies on the use of clean, American made technology to tackle a challenge that we can't leave to our kids and grandkids," she said in a statement.
The EPA said it is proposing new fossil‐fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour.
"New natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plant units should be able to meet the proposed standard without add‐on controls," the EPA said. The agency, however, said new plants designed to use coal "would be able to incorporate technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to meet the standard, such as carbon capture and storage."
The EPA is allowing 60 days for public feedback on the proposals.
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