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Greenhouse Gas Limits to Stop Growth of Coal-Burning Plants

March 27, 2012 16:56 by Bran

Did you know that coal power plants emit, on average, 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt?  That's in contrast to the mere 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt cast out by a natural gas plant.  As you can see, there's a huge discrepancy in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions each power plant produces. 

That's why, according to the Washington Post, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued "the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants" today.  And while the rule won't affect existing coal power plants, it will likely prevent many new coal-fired plants from being erected.  The Washington Post reports: "The rule ... dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls."

America's job market is not expected to be affected because much of the market has already shifted.  That is, many utilities are already opting to build natural gas plants due to low natural gas prices. "It’s simply a shift from a dirtier fuel to a cleaner fuel," President of the Center for Clean Air Policy Ned Helme said.

But Republicans in both the Senate and House of Representatives plan to fight the rule, claiming that it's part of a larger, job-killing agenda.

What do you think?  Is the new rule too harsh on coal-burning power plants?