On September 20, 2013, the U.S. EPA announced a Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants. The announcement marks the first major step under President Obama's Climate Action Plan announced this July. The proposed rules include the following limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new coal-fired power plants:

  • 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, over a 12-month period; or
  • 1,000 – 1,050 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, over a 7-year period

The proposed rules include the following limits on CO2 emissions from new natural gas-fired power plants:

  • 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour for larger units
  • 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour for smaller units

According to the EPA, "Power plants are the largest stationary source of carbon pollution in the United States: about one third of all greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S. comes from the generation of electricity by power plants." However, the current proposal addresses only emissions from new power plants. Standards for existing power plants are still forthcoming, but are expected to be less stringent than the standards proposed for new power plants.

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register, and EPA will accept written comments on the proposed rule for 60 days following publication.

More information about the Proposed Carbon Standards for New Power Plants can be found on EPA's website.