|WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 21, 2011, announced the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and air toxics like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. These new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
The standards have received support from people across the country, including environmental, faith, public health and business leaders. They include: Albert A. Rizzo, MD, of the American Lung Association; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,;Howard Learner of the Environmental Law & Policy Center; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Alan Baker of the American Public Health Association; The Rev. Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith; Shannon Baker-Branstetter of Consumers Union; Rev Canon Sally G. Bingham, president of Interfaith Power & Light; Lauren Randall, Environment America; Roberto Carmona, Voces Verdes; Robert D. Brook, M.D., University of Michigan and American Heart Association, Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP; Larry Schweiger, National Wildlife Federation; Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters; Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California; Representatives Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Ed Markey of Massachusetts Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council; U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson; U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; the Energy Action Coalition; the Business Council for Sustainable Energy; Illinois Governor Pat Quinn; and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
For more information about the standards go here.
EPA Finalizes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also has finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). EPA continues to support greater use of renewable fuels within the transportation sector every year through the RFS2 program, which encourages innovation, strengthens American energy security, and decreases greenhouse gas pollution.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.
The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:
- Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91 percent)
- Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21 percent)
- Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006 percent)
- Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23 percent)
Last spring EPA had proposed a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013. EISA specifies a one billion gallon minimum volume requirement for that category for 2013 and beyond, but enables EPA to increase the volume requirement after consideration of a variety of environmental, market, and energy-related factors. EPA is continuing to evaluate the many comments from stakeholders on the proposed biomass based diesel volume for 2013 and will take final action next year.
Overall, EPA’s RFS2 program encourages greater use of renewable fuels, including advanced biofuels. For 2012, the program is implementing EISA’s requirement to blend more than 1.25 billion gallons of renewable fuels over the amount mandated for 2011.