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EPA Issues Final Carbon Emissions Rule

August 2015

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency issued the first ever rules – known as the Clean Power Plan – that seek to limit carbon emissions from U.S. power plants. According to the EPA, when fully implemented in 2030, the rules will reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 32% from the 2005 level. Additionally, emissions of sulfur dioxide will drop 90% and nitrogen oxides will drop 72%. While the goal of the policy is to reduce the amount of climate forcing carbon emissions, the EPA estimates the policy will also yield short-term health benefits of 90,000 fewer asthma attacks, 300,000 fewer missed school days and 3,600 prevent premature deaths.

The Clean Power Plan provides a reduction target for reducing carbon emissions in each state , allowing each state to develop a plan to meet these goals. States can meet the emission targets by: a) making exiting plants more efficient; b) switching to less carbon intense fuel sources (ie switching from coal to natural gas); or c) using more zero or low emissions power sources (solar, nuclear, renewable) or a mix of all three options.

The ATS was present for the announcement at the White House of the EPA's Clean Power Plan, and has issued a press release supporting the new rules. "Reducing carbon pollution will improve the health of communities across the United States right now," ATS President Atul Malhotra, MD, says. "Controlling carbon emissions will directly reduce ozone and particulate matter air pollution, which remains a serious public health problem, causing asthma attacks, COPD exacerbations, and even premature deaths which could have been prevented."

Last Reviewed: October 2017