HomeWashington Letter2024 ▶ EPA Releases Suite of Rules to Reduce Emissions from Power Plants
EPA Releases Suite of Rules to Reduce Emissions from Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency released a suite of regulations this week to reduce greenhouse gas and other pollution from existing coal and newly constructed natural gas power plants. The four separate rules work in tandem to address several aspects of pollution from power plants. 

According to the EPA, the performance standard rule will require existing coal plants and newly constructed gas power plants to “control 90 percent of their carbon pollution.” The air toxins rule lowers the allowable amount of toxic emissions by 67 percent and mercury emissions by 70 percent. Coal ash rules expand federal regulations to cover nearly all coal-ash storage and the final rule reduces the amount of polluted water that power plants can emit. 

In its announcement, the EPA noted that releasing the rules as a package would give the power industry a clear picture of compliance requirements and the regulatory certainty needed for the energy sector to make changes.
The EPA estimates that by 2035, the suite of rules will avoid:

  • Up to 1,200 premature deaths.
  • 870 hospital and emergency room visits.
  • 1,900 cases of asthma onset.
  • 360,000 cases of asthma symptoms.
  • 48,000 school absence days.
  • 57,000 lost workdays.

“The suite of new rules released today by the EPA aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hazardous air pollutants released from coal- and gas-fired power plants,” said Gillian Goobie, MD, PhD, vice chair of the ATS Environmental Health Policy Committee. “The ATS has been highly supportive of these rules, providing constructive feedback to strengthen their implementation and the protection of vulnerable and minoritized populations.

“Together, these rules represent a great step forward in reducing the human health impacts of air pollution, while also targeting some of the country’s largest single-site emitters that contribute to climate change,” she continued. “We applaud today’s efforts by the EPA, while highlighting that there remains much work to be done to facilitate environmental justice and tackle climate change.”
It is expected the power industry will challenge these final rules in court.

Last Reviewed: February 2022