The Environmental Protection Agency today announced a new standard that puts limits on global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants for the first time. The rule applies only to new power plants. The only way for new coal-fired plants to cut their carbon dioxide emissions as much as required would be to capture them and store them underground _ something the EPA says it expects will be commercially viable in a decade.
Electric power plants that use natural gas will meet the limits without any additional equipment. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters today that the price of natural gas would have to go up dramatically, more than anything projected, before natural gas wouldn't be the ecoomical choice anyway.
The standard uses American technology to move to cleaner and cheaper electricity, Jackson said. She also said it's a way of "taking on a challenge (climate change) we cannot afford ot leave our kids and grandkids."
Jackson said EPA has no plans to put any limits on carbon pollution from the nation's large number of existing power plants, which are the biggest industrial source of carbon dioxide (story about future of coal here). (Find a power plant near you here using EPA's interactive map on GHG emissions here.) Jackson said the limits also won't apply to some 15 new plants that plan to break ground later this year or to upgrades at older plants.