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EPA set to issue final rule on carbon pollution standard

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to issue a final rule on its proposed carbon pollution standard in March, according to a regulatory agenda released late last year.

In April 2012, EPA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would set strict carbon dioxide (CO2) emission limits for new fossil fuel-fired electric power plants. Natural gas plants will easily be able to meet the standard, but it will be extremely difficult for new coal-fired plants to do so without expensive modifications. This has led many experts to conclude that the proposed rule will act as a de facto ban on any new coal-fired plants being built in the future. Coal plants currently provide about 40% of the nation's electricity and represent a major source of employment for TAUC contractors and their partners in the building trades.

TAUC submitted extensive comments on the proposed rule, which you can read here. TAUC believes the rule rule will have a negative impact not only on our membership and the union construction industry in particular, but also on the nation as a whole.

On a related note, EPA also said that in April it will issue a final action on new-source limits for toxics emitted from new power plants under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). "The new information indicates that there may be technical challenges associated with monitoring mercury emissions at the levels set for new power plants," EPA said. "These new plants would continue to rely on the same proven pollution control technologies to reduce harmful mercury, acid gases, and particle pollution, which will provide important health benefits to the American public."

01/08/2013