Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

EPA power plant proposal follows California's lead — 7 years later

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34018 full

Federal regulators are proposing new limits on carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants. Those kind of rules are old news in California.

What the Environmental Protection Agency proposes to do could make coal-fired power plants extinct. But the price tag alone on a new coal plant is already a cause for utilities to pause – and California’s existing regulations are in part to blame for that.

Seven years ago, the Golden State set limits on greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants. And earlier rules aimed at smog pollution made building coal-fired plants all but impossible in California.

Now the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is taking steps to eliminate coal from its energy mix. Southern California Edison has a small stake in a coal plant in the Four Corners region of the southwest. Both those utilities are following California’s AB 32 mandate, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions around 30 percent by 2020.

The next rule federal EPA regulators are working on will apply to existing fossil fuel plants. California’s existing regulations cover those plants, too.

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