EPA unveils new power plant carbon emission regulations

On the morning of Monday, June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally unveiled the long-awaited standards on the carbon emissions from existing power plants. The federal agency plans to reduce these greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere by a full 30 percent by the year 2030, with 25 percent of the cuts expected to take effect by 2020.

The new regulations for power plants that are already operational in the country are the first of their kind. Power plants are a heavy polluter in the United States, as they are collectively responsible for nearly 40 percent of all carbon emissions. The EPA projects that, by implementing these rules, the country will gain $90 billion in both climate and health benefits, helping the economy.

While these regulations will be monitored at a federal level, the EPA is giving flexibility to the states as to how they will individually meet these new standards. Power plants will be given an option as to how they will reduce their carbon emissions, by either having new energy-efficient equipment installed or by switching over to a fuel source with lower emissions such as natural gas.

EPA chief Gina McCarthy is expected to give a press conference outlining some of the details of the new regulations and how the government will cooperate at the federal and state levels to protect the environment. While the administration is fully in support of the new plans that are going to be rolled out, members of each party are gearing up for a political fight that will likely last until the midterm elections.

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