Utility companies across the U.S. will shut down and retire aging coal-fired power plants following the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAP). This rule is intended to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide at coal-fired power plants and makes it incredibly costly for utility companies to modernize aging facilities to meet the stringent emissions standards.
The EPA is currently working on other proposed guidelines that will likely force the closure of numerous coal plants in the near future. These standards include limiting mercury pollution, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and regulating coal ash, a toxic by-product of coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimates the CSAP rule alone will save the lives of 34,000 people across the nation each year.
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement that regulations are essential:
These changes can help our vehicles, too. The closure of old and dirty coal-fired power plants means that more plug-in vehicles will be charged by electricity that doesn't come from these archaic, dirty plants.No community should have to bear the burden of another community's polluters, or be powerless to prevent air pollution that leads to asthma, heart attacks and other harmful illnesses. These Clean Air Act safeguards will help protect the health of millions of Americans and save lives by preventing smog and soot pollution from traveling hundreds of miles and contaminating the air they breathe.
[Source: The Hill]