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Comments Submitted to EPA on Proposed Emissions Standards for New Power Plants

Policy Integrity submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. To help maximize the net benefits of the proposed standards and to ensure their solid legal foundation, Policy Integrity made the following recommendations:

EPA should consider the cost savings associated with a flexible, multi-year compliance period when determining the “degree of emission limitation achievable” under the “best system of emission reduction” for coal-fired generating units.

Given that EPA’s forthcoming rule for greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants is likely to encourage emissions trading between existing coal- and gas-fired units, EPA should group its performance standards for new coal- and gas-fired units within a single regulatory subpart. Treating all types of generating unit as a single source category will put future trading on a stronger legal footing.

EPA should expand its proposed performance standards to encompass all greenhouse gases emitted by generating units, not just carbon dioxide.

EPA should also make clear that carbon capture and storage can be “adequately demonstrated” without referring to projects funded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Finally, EPA should explain more fully why it exempts oil-fired and peak-demand units from the proposed standards.