EPA to set carbon emission restrictions on power plants in early 2012, says carbon-capture solution not yet commercially viable; rules could mean more natural gas, wind, solar investments for coal-fired utilities

LOS ANGELES , November 18, 2011 () – Early next year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to set regulations on carbon emissions from power plants, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told the TV show energyNOW, Reuters reported Nov. 18.

Jackson gave no details about the regulations, but said the rules — which could mean more natural gas, wind and solar investments for coal-fired utilities — would be released in early 2012. The proposed regulations were delayed twice already, — once in June, and once in September — pending discussions with environmental groups, states and businesses.

House Republicans argue the restrictions will directly impede employment and increase costs for businesses in a suffering economy. President Obama asked the EPA to stall until 2013 a smog-related regulation, leaving environmental groups concerned the administration could stall other restrictions in the pipeline. Still, the EPA pushed its restrictions plan through to the Office of Management and Review to undergo its typically 90-day process. Jackson contends the new regulations may spur job growth in technology sectors, while utilities lobbyists say the existing technology is not a cost-effective solution for power plants.

The EPA considered the commonly suggested carbon-capture solution for burying emissions, but Jackson says the process is too far behind technologically at this point to be commercially viable. Lobbyists say energy markets should be the driving push toward natural gas, not the EPA, asserting that the chemicals’ industry’s interest in new technology in that area could increase prices.

The primary source of this news article is Reuters, London, England, November 18, 2011.

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