Air board restarts process for regulating carbon pollution – beginning with tighter limit

Air board restarts process for regulating carbon pollution – beginning with tighter limit

By Michael Martz | Richmond Times Dispatch

Virginia is beginning again to regulate carbon dioxide pollution by electric power plants, but the state wants to start with a stricter limit as a baseline for future cuts in emissions.

The State Air Pollution Control Board voted Monday to create a new set of regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels as part of a proposed new emissions trading system with nine other states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

The air board will open a public comment period early next year and expects to act on the proposed rule by next spring.

The new proposal would set the initial limit for power plant carbon emissions at 28 million tons a year, or 15 to 18 percent lower than the previous regulatory proposal the state had been considering. State environmental regulators estimate that the revised rules would cut an additional 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

“While not changing the nature of the proposal, this revision is a more aggressive approach to reducing carbon pollution,” said David Paylor, director of the Department of Environmental Quality, in a statement on Monday

Gov. Ralph Northam did not comment publicly on the proposed new regulation, which would set a baseline for carbon emissions by power plants at 28 million tons in 2020 and require a subsequent 3 percent reduction each year. The previous rule, which the board voted to develop nearly a year ago, would have set the baseline limit at 33 million to 34 million tons a year, with a 3 percent cut each year thereafter.  Read More >>