EPA looks at landmark rule on coal fired power plants

The Obama administration is working to set limits on heat-trapping pollution from new power plants. Opponents of any regulation on power plants have said that the measure threatens the use of coal, and will raise electricity prices. However, the proposed legislation dose not limit future carbon emissions from new plants until carbon capture technology is commercially available.

Coal is the most common form of energy in the US.  Environmental activists have been working for several years to reduce national dependencies in coal citing carbon emissions and mining as detrimental for both humans and the environment. Many older coal plants have shut down throughout states as the US has started exporting more natural gas than coal in recent years.

The proposed rule will not apply to existing or new power plants completed within the next year. Future plants will also have several years to meet the emission limiting standards until carbon capture technology becomes commercially available. Natural-gas plants already meet new standards by virtue of their processes.

Critics of the rule say that despite these allowances the rule effectively cuts off the creation of new coal plants as they will be unable to comply with limits. The rule itself is the result of a settlement between several states and environmental groups over carbon emissions. The exemption of existing plants may cause more suits as they are able to avoid purchasing limiting technology and account for much of the existing pollution in the US due to their age.

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