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June 11, 2018

NYSDEC to Prohibit Coal-Fired Generation in Power Plants After 2020

New York State took one step further in achieving its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. On May 17, 2018, Governor Cuomo announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has proposed regulations that will limit the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that existing power plants can emit after January 1, 2021. These proposed limits on CO2 will effectively phase out the ability to produce power using coal as a fuel source in NYS.

NYSDEC's proposed Part 251 rule would require all existing fossil fuel-fired power plants to meet an emission rate of 1800 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour gross electrical output (or 180 pounds of CO2 per million Btu of input) for each fossil fuel combusted. Part 251's emission rate requires new and modified sources to meet remains unchanged. For new and modified boilers, combined cycle turbines, and natural gas internal combustion engines, Part 251 requires a CO2 emission rate of 925 pounds per megawatt hour (or 120 pounds per mmBtu), and for simple cycle combustion turbines and stationary internal combustion engines that fire fuel oil, a CO2 emission rate of 1450 pounds per megawatt hour (or 160 pounds per mmBtu) is required.

In announcing the proposed Part 251 revisions, Cuomo referenced his 2016 State of the State pledge to "eliminate all use of coal in New York State by 2020" and his 2018 State of the State address that tasked NYSDEC with developing regulations to make NYS coal-free. Even without the proposed Part 251 rule, however, due to several other regulatory and market-based factors, coal-fired electric generation in New York accounted for only about 1 percent of total electric generation in 2016 and 2017.

Comments on the proposed Part 251 regulation will be accepted by NYSDEC until July 29, 2018. NYSDEC has also scheduled three public hearings on its proposed rulemaking: July 16, 2018 at NYSDEC in Albany; July 18, 2018 at the NYS Department of Transportation in Long Island City; and July 24, 2018 at NYSDEC in Avon.

Should you have questions regarding the information presented in this alert, please contact Yvonne Hennessey Environmental Practice Area co-chair, at or Danielle Mettler-LaFeir, counsel, at


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