New EPA rules could stop growth of coal, encourage clean energy
The U.S. renewable electricity industry has steadily grown over the past decade, but fossil fuels still provide a large majority of the country's energy. In part this has been because the country has failed to limit the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions produced by these fuels, but this is about to change.
The New York Times reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has introduced its first ever restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. The new rules, which are open for comment for the next two months, would limit all new power plants to no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity produced.
While natural gas can easily meet this standard, the new rule would effectively prohibit the construction of new coal-fired power plants, potentially helping to spur further investment in clean energy.
The Los Angeles Times reports that power plants are responsible for around 40 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., so the new rules could help to dramatically cut down on future pollution, particularly if the regulations are eventually applied to existing power plants.