White House Pursuing Aggressive Power Plant Rules

As we have covered in the past, the Biden administration is utilizing aggressive EPA rulemaking to pad the president’s environmental record. The administration rolled back a misguided EPA’s vehicle tailpipe emissions rule and delayed rules for existing natural gas plants until after the election, but the agency is plowing ahead with requirements for new powerplants plants. While the previous backtracking was likely a concession to critics, the inverse now presents itself: the president is doubling down on bad policies to woo more liberal supporters ahead of the election.

This week, the EPA is expected to release three or four rules, “including a rule to cut carbon emissions at future gas-fired and existing coal-fired power plants as well as rules governing wastewater and solid combustion waste from coal plants,” according to E&E News. During a time of increasing electricity demand, especially as de-facto electric vehicle mandates begin to take shape, the U.S. should not impose rules that would limit power plants’ efficiency, potentially straining the grid further.

Even Democrats are asking the EPA to delay its proposals. In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) warned the rules could result in higher electricity rates and impact reliability. To that end, the letter’s signees urged the EPA to “defer finalizing the proposed rules until an updated reliability assessment of the proposal is complete and made public.”

The request for an updated reliability assessment is a reasonable one, especially as electricity demand is forecasted to skyrocket both this summer and over the next decade. Imposing stringent rules on vital power plants that could threaten their reliability and efficiency for the sake of posturing in an election year is not a prudent path forward. Similarly, rushing through rules so that Congress cannot utilize the Congressional Review Act is irresponsible and short sighted, especially with our energy sector in the crosshairs.

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