Climate groups rally for stronger power plant emissions standards

By Shannon Kelleher

Environmental advocates rallied at the steps of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters on Tuesday, applauding the agency’s efforts to cut climate-harming pollution from power plants but saying its proposed standards don’t go far enough.

The Climate Action Campaign and other groups say they have delivered over one million public comments to the EPA on its proposed rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from these facilities, which was introduced in May.

If finalized, the EPA’s new standards would reduce carbon pollution by 617 million metric tons and would benefit human health, avoiding 1,300 premature deaths and preventing over 300,000 asthma attacks, according to the agency.

The EPA rules would require plants to either install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology capable of capturing 90% of carbon dioxide emissions or to combust a blend of hydrogen and natural gas. The agency’s emissions rule should be finalized by April 2024, said a spokesperson for the Climate Action Campaign, although plants may not be required to comply with emission limits until 2030 or so.

“EPA’s proposal is a critically important step forward,” said Margie Alt, Executive Director of the Climate Action Campaign, in an email. “Given the climate threats we are facing, we are calling for the EPA to finalize a standard that achieves even greater pollution reductions from more sources on the fastest possible timeline.”