Biden Administration Quietly Scales Back Power Plant Rule

The Biden administration has been persistent in its quest to reduce emissions – even if that means threatening the U.S. electric grid. The GAIN coalition recently pointed out the serious concerns with the administration’s extreme regulatory agenda, including EPA actions to slash emissions from power plants and gas-powered vehicles ,  These regulations, which would simultaneously strain the supply of and increase demand for electricity, could cause full grid meltdown.  Now, faced with the consequences of their rulemaking, they’ve quietly begun to lessen the intensity of their regulations.

Originally, the Environmental Protection Agency’s powerplant emissions rule did not include existing gas plants, however, the White House specifically added current plants to the list following a review. In response, industry leaders across the board were sounding alarms since under the new regulation gas-powered plants would be forced to depend on costly technologies like carbon capture or shutdown entirely. However, the administration recently announced they are reverting to the original version of the rule that excludes existing natural gas power plants from its onerous rule. With this recent move, the administration is quietly acknowledging the need for natural gas power plants, demonstrating its understanding of natural gas’ short- and long-term contributions to grid security.

The administration decision to roll back the EPA’s power plant emissions rule follows a broader trend of reversing stringent EPA regulations. For example, Biden’s EPA is set to relax elements of its stringent tailpipe emissions standards, a rule aimed at expediting the transition to EVs. Although this rollback is a possible political play to gain the vote of auto manufacturers and labor unions ahead of this year’s election, the administration is coming to its senses on how to secure our energy sector and reduce emissions without depleting its ability to function.

The administration has consistently proven its hostility towards natural gas through actions like the recent announcement of the suspension of new LNG export permits. Under the guise of analyzing environmental and community impacts, this decision has not only called into question the U.S.’s role in securing Europe’s energy supply, but also the importance of natural gas in the global energy transition, lowering emissions and uplifting emerging nations out of energy poverty. Although the administration has not made any announcements to suspend this decision, looking at the trend of its other withdrawals from its original stringent rules, this may be the next on the chopping block as realities of natural gas dependence and demand seep in.

The administration’s rollback of both the power plant and tailpipe emissions rule signals that it’s realizing that the U.S. electrical grid cannot maintain reliability without oil and gas. Securing the grid, protecting workers and reducing emissions are all possible, however, impractical energy policies continue to fail the American people.

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