EPA Power Plant Emissions Rule Is Intended to Shut Plants Down Without Congress’s OK


by Travis Burk, CEI


Biden EPA’s Power Plant Emissions Rule Seeks to Shutter Certain Power Plants without Authorization from Congress
President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new proposed rule today mandating power plants reduce emissions drastically or shut down. The rule has been compared to the 2015 Clean Power Plan put forward during former President Obama’s term, a rule the Supreme Court held exceeded the agency’s authority.


Deputy Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment Daren Bakst said:

“The EPA is once again trying to use regulations to change how electricity is generated in this country. The EPA isn’t the nation’s grid manager. And like with the unlawful Clean Power Plan, the agency’s proposed rule is abusing its regulatory power to effectively ensure that certain plants cease to exist. Legislators need to push back against the EPA and other agencies that fail to respect the lawmaking power of Congress. This can start with the appropriations process. Not a single penny of taxpayer money should go to funding the development of this proposed rule.”

CEI senior fellow Marlo Lewis said:

“The EPA is reportedly basing its new power plant CO2 standards on carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the ‘best system of emission reduction’ (BSER). Moreover, the EPA is reportedly going to argue that such standards raise no ‘major questions’ under West Virginia v. EPA because CCS is an ‘inside the fenceline’ measure—a technology that can be applied to and at each regulated facility. But the Supreme Court in West Virginia did not vacate the Clean Power Plan because its BSER—generation shifting from fossil generation to renewables—is an ‘outside the fenceline’ system. Rather, the Court vacated the Clean Power Plan because the Clean Air Act does not clearly authorize the EPA to compel any such transformation of the electric power sector.

“Depending on their level of stringency, standards based on CCS can compel even more rapid generation shifting than the Clean Power Plan did. If that is the EPA’s new plan, it is again attempting to inflate itself into a national industrial policy czar for the U.S. electric power sector. As the Court ruled in West Virginia v. EPA, the Clean Air Act contains no clear statement authorizing any such transformational expansion of the EPA’s power.”

CEI President and CEO Kent Lassman said:

“The problem President Biden seeks to solve is modest, distant, and uncertain. The technology girding his response is not available. The supply of new power is coming online slower than he will take current supply out of the market. Coal and gas are most efficient base load.

“The law doesn’t allow this sort of restructuring of American life by an agency. The list of obstacles — legal, technological, commercial, — is longer than the proposed rule. This is not serious governance. It is farce.”

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