EPA finalizes strong carbon emissions standards for power plants April 25, 2024

PSR applauds EPA for finalizing new, strict standards for regulating carbon emissions from power plants. These new standards, which address existing coal-fired power plants and new gas-fired ones, will help to improve environmental and health equity.

Carbon pollution, along with its co-pollutants from power plants, have negatively impacted the health of our communities, especially those on the frontlines, for decades. EPA projects that this action, together with the Inflation Reduction Act, will reduce carbon emissions from the power sector to more than 62% below 2022 levels by 2035. The health benefits associated with such a decrease is projected to be substantial. We will avoid over 1,200 premature deaths, 1,900 cases of asthma onset, and 360,000 cases of asthma symptoms.

While the impact on health and climate of this finalized rule is estimated to be overwhelmingly positive, its true impact depends on how industry intends to meet the regulations. Carbon capture and storage (CCS), one of the options being offered, is likely to keep us reliant on fossil fuels for longer, extending their lifespan and putting off the transition to renewable energy. A 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions from CCS exists in laboratory settings, but actual capture rates in the field fall far below this level, allowing huge amounts of carbon to escape into the atmosphere. States and utilities have options under these new standards to reduce emissions that do not involve CCS. We hope to see them adopt other routes for reducing carbon pollution.

As we move forward, we must support pollution standards for power plants and defend them in Congress and the courts. We need the strongest possible protections to adequately safeguard our health and climate, especially considering the climate’s current state following 2023, the hottest year on record.

PSR envisions a future in which all communities can breathe clean air and thrive in healthy environments. This will require the rejection of false solutions and the implementation of a just transition to renewable energy.

  • Issues/Category

  • Resource Type