European Union member countries April 28 voted in favor of tighter pollutant emissions limits for power plants and other large-scale combustion facilities within the bloc, a move environmental groups said would prevent thousands of premature deaths annually.
The tighter limits were resisted by a group of eight mainly Eastern Europe and former communist EU members that rely on coal for electricity. Their opposition, however, was not enough to prevent a regulatory committee of EU national representatives from approving the limits, which now can be formally adopted by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.
The new limits will apply four years after the formal decision approving them and will cover a range of substances, including ammonia, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, fine particles and heavy metals.
About 3,500 facilities would be affected, though “some of them are already complying,” the commission told Bloomberg BNA in a statement.
The regulatory committee approved the limits under the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED, 2010/75/EU), which requires polluting industrial facilities to meet standards considered to be equivalent to the best available techniques (BAT) for pollution control in their sectors. The new limits are contained in an updated BAT reference document for large combustion plants.
Among the facilities covered by the stricter pollutant limits would be “all of Europe’s coal-fired power stations, which represent some of the biggest single point sources of these emissions,” the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said in a statement.
The reduced pollution from coal-fired plants would lead to 20,000 fewer premature deaths a year, the bureau said.
Governments were influenced to support the tighter pollutant limits by a campaign organized by environmental groups ahead of the vote, the EEB’s Anton Lazarus told Bloomberg BNA.
“Governments know that air pollution is something citizens care about deeply, and because of our campaign they also knew they would be held accountable for how they voted today,” he said.
The countries that voted against the updated limits were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. All other EU countries voted in favor.
“We do not agree with this approach,” Poland’s Secretary of State for Environment Pawel Salek said in a statement. Compliance with the new limits would cost Polish companies 10 billion zlotys ($2.6 billion), he said.
The commission said the Industrial Emissions Directive allowed countries facing difficulties in meeting the new limits to apply for derogations for specific plants, which would be granted if “reaching the performance levels would lead to disproportionate costs” relative to the environmental benefits.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gardner in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at email@example.com
Documents related to the April 28 vote on emissions of large-scale combustion plants are available at http://bit.ly/2qmw8iT.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)