Wow. A decision by the Environmental Protection Agency today has ruled that all new and proposed coal-fired power plants must have their carbon dioxide emissions regulated.
What this means is that 30 permits for new coal-fired power plants in the seven state directly regulated by the EPA's permitting process, plus projects on all Indian Reservations will immediately die because of this ruling.
Joanna Spalding, the Sierra Club attorney who successfully argued the case, delivered this statement:
Today's decision opens the way for meaningful action to fight global warming and is a major step in bringing about a clean energy economy. This is one more sign that we must begin repowering, refueling and rebuilding America. The EAB rejected every Bush Administration excuse for failing to regulate the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States. This decision gives the Obama Administration a clean slate to begin building our clean energy economy for the 21st century.
Here's the official statement from Sierra Club on the decision.
And here's the official ruling by the Environmental Appeals Board (PDF).
The U.S. produces about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.
Burning coal contributes 40 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions. Coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel. According to the United Nations Environment Program, coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil.