Changes Likely in Final Version of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

From: Environmental Leader

Adam Riedel, Associate | Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP


Emissions Standards for New and Modified Power Plants

The carbon emission standards for new power plants have received less attention than those for existing power plants, and it is expected that this rule may be finalized largely unchanged from the proposed rule. However, the final rule may contain one very significant change. The proposed rule requires that all new coal-fired power plants be equipped with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. This provision has been extremely controversial because CCS has not yet been commercially demonstrated and the pilot programs exploring this technology have all received significant federal financial support, leading to concerns among industry that the CCS requirement was a de facto ban on new coal-fired power plants. Additionally, this requirement posed a significant legal threat to the rule because if a court were to find that CCS is not an “adequately demonstrated” technology, the rule could be invalidated. Thus, given the practical and legal concerns surrounding the CCS requirement, there is speculation that EPA will remove this requirement in final rule. EPA has remained silent on this point and has neither confirmed nor denied that it has dropped this requirement in the final rule.

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