EPA to Propose Strict Pollution Limits for Power Plants

Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire

Merrimack Station coal plant in Bow, New Hampshire

May 11, 2023 (BOSTON, MA) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to announce new proposed rules to limit polluting emissions from power plants. The regulations are designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions and require fossil fuel plants to invest in clean energy sources, systems that capture and store carbon, or shift to alternative fuels. Plants unable to reduce their emissions in compliance will be forced to shut down. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.

“Communities across New England have been living in the shadow of polluting fossil fuel plants for decades,” said CLF President Brad Campbell. “Slashing emissions from these power plants is an essential step to meeting our climate goals and cleaning up the air in these communities. We can’t afford to allow this damaging pollution to continue, and EPA’s approach proposes to drive down those emissions over time and will increase opportunities for proven technologies like solar and wind.”

The new rules focus heavily on carbon capture and sequestration, a process of removing carbon from power plant emissions and permanently storing it, which the agency says can reduce a plant’s emissions by over 90%. But this technology, which is so far unproven at scale, could create new threats to health and safety, while clean energy sources like wind and solar are ready to go today. The rule gives plants the flexibility to choose renewables and other alternate approaches so long as they provide equivalent emissions reductions.

Rather than invest in old, polluting facilities, owners will have a real financial incentive to shut down their fossil fuel plants and invest instead in clean energy like wind, solar, and energy storage.

CLF experts are available for further comment.