Understanding the EPA’s Climate Protection Proposal

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On Monday, President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, plan to release a proposed rule to limit the carbon pollution of existing power plants. Power plants are responsible for one-third of all domestic climate pollution, and while there are reduction requirements for acid rain, smog, soot, mercury, and lead emissions, this will be the first-ever limit on power plants’ carbon pollution. This proposal is the centerpiece of the president’s Climate Action Plan.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had the authority to limit climate pollution under the Clean Air Act. The EPA will issue the new power plant standard by employing its authority under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act “to develop regulations for categories of sources which cause or significantly contribute to air pollution which may endanger public health or welfare.”

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