Great news, today, for anyone who wants cleaner air.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just announced a settlement agreement to establish national emission standards that will address the greenhouse gas pollution from new and existing fossil fuel power plants.
The agreement follows litigation launched in 2006 by a wide variety of parties — including EDF — after EPA refused to address greenhouse gas pollution in establishing national emission standards for power plants. EPA's 2006 action was based on an interpretation of the Clean Air Act rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. power plants are one of the single largest sources of airborne contaminants. They discharge more than 30 percent of all global warming pollution in America, about 40 percent of our toxic mercury, and almost two-thirds of our sulfur dioxide (which transforms into deadly fine particulate pollution and contributes to acid rain).
Now, EPA will establish new standards that will include the greenhouse gas emissions from the plant. EPA will issue a draft of the standards by July 26, 2011, and then take final action by May 26, 2012.
EPA's commitment to address the dangerous, climate-disrupting pollution from power plants through common sense national standards will provide important environmental protections and will create economic certainty for vibrant new investments.
Along with EDF, the other parties to today's settlement agreement are: the states of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; the District of Columbia; the City of New York; Natural Resources Defense Council; and Sierra Club.
And in more good news, EPA also announced a settlement agreement to address pollution limits for refineries today. That proposal is due by next December, and final action is due in 2012.