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Obama takes on coal with first-ever carbon limits

EPA administrator GinMcCarthy testifies before House Subcommittee Energy Power Capitol Hill Washington.  |  Cliff Owen~AP

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy testifies before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power on Capitol Hill in Washington. | Cliff Owen~AP

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Updated: September 20, 2013 10:00AM



WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is pressing ahead with tough requirements for new coal-fired power plants, moving to impose for the first time strict limits on the pollution blamed for global warming.

The proposal would help reshape where Americans get electricity, away from coal and toward cleaner sources of energy. It’s a key step in President Barack Obama’s plans to address climate change.

The proposed rule eventually would force the government to limit emissions from existing power plants, which account for a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Obama has given the Environmental Protection Agency until next summer to propose those regulations.

The EPA provided The Associated Press with details of the proposal prior to the official announcement, which was expected Friday morning.

That’s because to meet the standard, new coal-fired power plants would need to install expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide and bury it underground. No coal-fired power plant has done that yet, in large part because of the cost.

Coal, which is already struggling to compete with cheap natural gas, accounts for 40 percent of U.S. electricity, a share that was already shrinking. And natural gas would need no additional pollution controls to comply.

The EPA already has issued rules aimed at curbing global warming pollution from automobiles and the largest industrial sources.



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