Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration is preparing to launch a major crackdown on key power plants across America, according to reports.
The Biden admin is reportedly finalizing a proposal that would force fossil fuel-fired power plants to substantially curb emissions.
If the plants fail to reduce emissions, they would be legally required to utilize expensive carbon capture technology.
The proposal will soon be published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The New York Times is reporting, citing officials briefed on a draft of the plan.
It is expected to require coal- and natural gas-fired power plants to cut or capture the vast majority of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040.
If finalized, the regulation would represent the first-ever federal action for curbing power plant emissions.
“EPA cannot comment because the proposals are currently under interagency review,” EPA spokesperson Maria Michalos told Fox News in a statement.
“But we have been clear from the start that we will use all of our legally-upheld tools, grounded in decades-old bipartisan laws, to address dangerous air pollution and protect the air our children breathe today and for generations to come,” Michalos said.
An Office of Management and Budget filing from late last year stated that the EPA anticipates issuing a proposed rule for the action.
The filing described the rule as a proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired plants.
It stated that the proposal would be issued in the spring of 2023 and a final rule would be promulgated by the summer of 2024.
The filing noted there are no EPA regulations on the books limiting emissions from existing electric generating units.
According to the most recent federal data, there are 3,393 fossil fuel-fired power plants nationwide, overall.
The majority of which are natural gas plants.
Those plants generate more than 60% of the nation’s electricity, compared to the roughly 14% of electricity generated by wind and solar projects.
However, EPA data shows that the electric power sector accounts for about 25% of total U.S. emissions, placing it behind only the transportation sector and slightly ahead of the industrial sector.
As such, fossil fuel power plants have been targeted by environmentalists and Democrat lawmakers who argue that emissions must be reduced in an effort to stave off the alleged “cataclysmic climate change.”
Shortly after he took office, Biden pledged to achieve a 52% total emission reduction by 2030.
He also vowed to create a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.
“Setting effective, affordable power plant carbon standards under the Clean Air Act now can ensure that the power industry delivers the emissions reductions needed to help meet the climate crisis,” argued an issue brief released this month by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an influential environmental group.
“Time is of the essence.”
“The EPA needs to move expeditiously, proposing power plant carbon standards soon as promised and finalizing them by early next year,” the brief added.
“This will allow states and power companies to get to work on implementing them, so we can curb this dangerous pollution and safeguard the climate as soon as possible.”
The fossil fuel industry has been pushing back, however.
Experts argue the U.S. power grid is still deeply reliant on coal, natural gas, and petroleum.
“The expected EPA regulation is just the latest in President Biden’s anti-fossil fuels agenda, coercing the retirement of electricity sources that are needed during the grid transition,” Michelle Bloodworth, the president and CEO of America’s Power, a coal power trade group, warns.
“EPA’s actions are contrary to the concerns of grid operators and other energy experts who have warned about possible electricity shortages,” she continued.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2022 that an Obama-era rule limiting power plant emissions under the Clean Air Act was unconstitutional.
Congress never granted the EPA the explicit power to issue such regulations, the SCOTUS determined.
Nevertheless, the Inflation Reduction Act passed two months after that ruling allows the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.