HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has submitted a white paper to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging them to consider state differences and needed flexibility when developing emissions guidelines addressing carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power stations.
“Under Gov. Tom Corbett’s leadership, Pennsylvania is continuing to make great progress in its efforts to position the state as a world leader in the new energy economy while ensuring that we continue improving our air quality and protecting public health,” DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “A key part of this plan is maintaining the stable and diverse supply of electricity vital to our economy and national security.”
President Barack Obama, as part of his Climate Action Plan, directed EPA to develop carbon dioxide pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. EPA released proposed standards for new power plants in January and is expected to release its proposal for existing power plants in June with a final rulemaking due by June 2015.
The department’s white paper presents an innovative and flexible framework for achieving lower CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants and urges the EPA to preserve the authority and discretion of states in the development and implementation of emission control programs.
Specifically, DEP requests:
- If EPA develops emissions guidelines, it should be done under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.
- Emissions guidelines should be developed in close consultation with the states.
- EPA should establish targets for reductions, rather than mandate pathways to achieve them.
- States must be allowed to join with other states in multi-state or regional programs.
- EPA should recognize the different makeup of existing power generation fleets in each state.
- EPA should recognize the differences inherent in regulated versus competitive energy markets and the need to provide for electric grid reliability.
- Changes to major New Source Review regulations should be considered to encourage efficiency improvements.
“Pennsylvania is committed to achieving the goals that would be established under a flexible CO2 program in a fashion that allows us to best serve the needs of our citizens,” Abruzzo said. “We believe the best way to achieve these goes is to implement a plan that focuses on state leadership, provides flexibility and takes advantage of a wide range of energy sources and technologies towards building a cleaner power sector.”
To read the entire white paper, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, and click on “Air,” then “Bureau of Air Quality.”