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EPA issues guidance in anticipation of new power plant emissions requirements

The Environmental Protection Agency issued new guidance today meant to assist state and local permitting authorities in determining the best technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large facilities like power plants.

The EPA guidance comes as the agency is preparing to require in January, for the first time, that new large facilities or facilities that need significant modifications implement Best Available Control Technologies, or BACT, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The new guidance does not require that states or local permitting authorities use a specific type of method for reducing emissions, but the EPA said in a statement today that it “anticipates that, in most cases, this process will show that the most cost effective way for industry to reduce GHG emissions will be through energy efficiency.”

Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office Air and Radiation, said in the statement:

To identify GHG reduction options, EPA and the states are now ready to apply the same time-tested process they have used for other pollutants. This shows that the Clean Air Act can be used to reduce these gases in a cost effective way.

Industry has been critical of the upcoming BACT requirements, arguing that they will impose prohibitive costs on building new facilities. On a conference call with reporters today, McCarthy said the requirements “will not significantly add to the burden or the timeline or the cost.”

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