US to hold 11 public hearings on CO2 limits for power plants

30 September 2013 22:41  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday said it will hold 11 public hearings on the agency’s plans to regulate carbon emissions from existing electric power plants, saying the sessions will help shape its rulemaking.

EPA said it will host public meetings in 10 states and in Washington, DC, beginning in mid-October and running through early November “about the best approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants”.

According to a directive from President Barack Obama, the EPA is to issue proposed rules by June 2014, which would govern carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by existing power plants.

Earlier this month EPA issued a revised proposal for limits on CO2 emissions by any new electric utilities.

That proposed rule limits emissions from natural gas-fired power plants to 1,000lb (454kg) of CO2 per gigawatt hour (GWh), but any future coal-fired facility would face a cap of 1,100lb/GWh.

Carbon emissions of existing coal-fired power plants are nearly twice that level.

Comments and opposition voiced by a wide variety of industries and state governments contend that the only way that new coal-fired power plants can meet the EPA’s proposed limits would be to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, which have yet to be proved on a commercial or economical scale.

The consequence, they argue, is that with its 20 September proposed rulemaking, the EPA has effectively banned any future coal-fired power generation.

There is broad expectation among manufacturers that EPA will seek to impose the same or largely similar carbon emissions limits on existing power plants when it rolls out its June 2014 proposal.

EPA said it will hold public hearings on CO2 limits for existing power plants in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, California, Texas, Washington state and Washington, DC.

Specific dates and locations are available at an EPA website.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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