The Environmental Protection Agency released new carbon emissions standards for power plants that burn coal and natural gas, a move which some energy experts and lawmakers caution will decrease power reliability and artificially increase electricity costs for households.
The new regulations unveiled on Thursday morning would seek to avoid 617 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide emissions through 2042, equal to the emissions produced by half of the nation’s cars, as well as reduce the amount of particulate matter released into the atmosphere. The proposed limits would “require ambitious reductions in carbon pollution based on proven and cost-effective control technologies” at coal and natural gas plants, which account for 60% of power generation in the nation, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.
“By proposing new standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants, EPA is delivering on its mission to reduce harmful pollution that threatens people’s health and wellbeing,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a press release. “EPA’s proposal relies on proven, readily available technologies to limit carbon pollution and seizes the momentum already underway in the power sector to move toward a cleaner future. Alongside historic investment taking place across America in clean energy manufacturing and deployment, these proposals will help deliver tremendous benefits to the American people, cutting climate pollution and other harmful pollutants, protecting people’s health, and driving American innovation.”
The release claimed that the new regulations would produce “climate and public health benefits” worth $85 billion over the next two decades, as well as prevent premature deaths and hospital visits as a result of decreased particulate matter emissions. The new rules had been widely expected for weeks before their public release.
Jason Isaac, a director at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told The Daily Wire that the new regulations are “far-reaching” and will inevitably raise power costs for households.
“Carbon capture technologies are so expensive that the result will be the sudden retirement of reliable generation, and there will be nothing to replace it,” Isaac said. “This is a prime example of an unelected executive agency run amok, with a single-minded agenda of eliminating fossil fuels and controlling how we produce and consume energy regardless of the costs or consequences, all while doing nothing to mitigate a changing climate.”
The new emissions standards come months after the Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia v. EPA that federal agencies cannot assert “highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted.” Steve Milloy, a senior legal fellow at the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute, told The Daily Wire that the regulations have “no chance of withstanding” scrutiny from the Supreme Court but noted that a ruling might not come for many years, thereby allowing “much damage” to the power grid.
The Biden administration has established a “whole-of-government effort” to reduce carbon emissions in the public and private sectors. Beyond the introduction of additional EPA rules that would aim to increase nationwide adoption of electric cars, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently voiced support for a policy that would transition the military to rely exclusively upon electric vehicles by 2030.
West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a frequent skeptic of Biden administration energy policies, announced on Wednesday that he would oppose every EPA nominee from the White House until the power plant rules are reversed.
“This administration is determined to advance its radical climate agenda and has made it clear they are hellbent on doing everything in their power to regulate coal and gas-fueled power plants out of existence, no matter the cost to energy security and reliability,” the lawmaker said.