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National Review
National Review
22 Apr 2023
Jeff Zymeri

NextImg:EPA to Propose Strict Carbon Limits for Power Plants

President Joe Biden is planning to announce strict carbon limits on existing and future power plants for the first time — plants which currently generate 60 percent of America’s electricity.

Three people briefed on the administration’s plans told the New York Times that under the rules that will be proposed, almost all coal and gas-fired power plants would have to cut or capture nearly all of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. At present, fewer than 20 of the nation’s 3,400 coal and gas-powered plants capture emissions from their smokestacks.

Carbon capture would not be mandated, but the strict caps on pollution rates would require plants to adopt some other technology, or in the case of gas plants specifically, switch to a fuel source that doesn’t emit carbon like green hydrogen.

If implemented, the rule is likely to draw a legal challenge from Republican attorneys general, who have already sued the Biden administration to stop other climate policies.

“We are eager to review the E.P.A.’s new proposed rule on power plants, and we’ll be ready once again to lead the charge in the fight against federal overreach,” explained West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a statement to the Times.

The Congressional Review Act could also be utilized to roll back the measure if Republicans win control of Congress in 2024.

While the president has moderated on select energy projects, approving an Alaska oil drill over the objections of climate activists, he has been largely aggressive in fighting climate change. Last week, Biden announced the strictest-ever emissions standards in his ongoing bid to remake the auto industry.

Biden also announced the White House Office of Environmental Justice on Friday. At a ceremony celebrating its creation, the president criticized Republican calls to end open-ended clean-energy tax cuts. These tax credits could bring the total of the climate measures included in last year’s IRA to more than $1 trillion.

“The MAGA Republicans in Congress want to repeal climate protections in the Inflation Reduction Act,” explained Biden. However, the administration is currently involved in a feud with powerful Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. The West Virginia senator agreed to the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate measures on the basis that they would decrease American energy reliance on countries like China. But now Manchin thinks the administration has manipulated him, taking issue with the scope afforded to the Treasury Department to determine which countries America has a free trade agreement with. In a Houston Chronicle op-ed last month, the West Virginia senator accused the administration of pandering to climate activists.