EPA Readies New Emissions Standards for Existing Power Plants

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As deadline approaches, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is putting the finishing touches on its new climate rule that would require existing power plants to drastically reduce their carbon emissions, as well as grant flexibility to states and companies in how they choose to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a May 21 Washington Post article

In its current draft, the new rule would cut greenhouse gas emissions (which are in part responsible for global climate change) in the utility sector by 25%. The measure will likely draw legal challenges from some utility providers, the Washington Post reported, and the baseline for the rule’s reductions hasn’t yet been finalized.

The EPA, which was created on December 2, 1970 when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order to reorganize all of the nation’s environmental organizations under one agency, plans to adopt a “mass-based system,” according to the Washington Post. This will require the states to meet an overall target for greenhouse gas emissions and allow them to achieve this through any means they choose.

The rule must be finalized by June 2 and will be the centerpiece of President Obama’s plan for climate action; utilities, like gas and electricity, account for approximately 40% of the United States’ carbon emissions.

Long doubted by American politicians and other public figures, the realities of global climate change have become increasingly apparent in recent years. Ice sheets in Antarctica are melting twice as fast as scientist predicted, according to NBC News. Each year, the continent’s ice sheets lose about 159 billion tons of ice. Melting ice in Greenland is also expected to contribute to rising sea levels, which threaten massive numbers of the global population that live in coastal regions.

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