EPA delays new power plant rules

January 14, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday, Jan. 6, that it is delaying the release of new carbon-emission rules for United States power plants for at least another six months. The rules are now scheduled to come out in mid-summer.

Initially, the EPA was planning to announce regulations for new plants this month, and existing plants later this year. However, the organization now says it has decided to release both final rulings, along with guidelines for modified plants, at the same time. 

"We're focused on the fact that these rules are a suite of rules affecting an industry and given the issues that overlap we really need to be thinking about the same time frame," Janet McCabe, the EPA's top spokesperson on air pollution, told reporters via phone.

According to The Wall Street Journal, some energy experts believe the agency wants to release both sets of rules at the same time to limit the window for challenges in Congress and in court. 

Last year, the EPA suggested that it would require American power plants to reduce carbon emissions by a full 30 percent between 2005 and 2030. Each state would be required to submit its own plan of action for meeting those limits. Those states that failed to create a strategy by 2016 would be subject to a federal version. The EPA has indicated that it will likely require all new coal plants to utilize carbon-capture technology, which is quite pricey to implement. 

If you, like many in the industry, are concerned about the chilling effect this might have on your business, consider working with an environmental consulting firm. We can help you craft an effective strategy for meeting regulatory challenges in the coming year.