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Tipsheet

Biden EPA Unveils Radical New Rule That Will Decimate American Energy

AP Photo/J. David Ake

The Biden administration announced its latest move in the president's now long-running campaign to "end fossil fuels" and force Americans through an "energy transition" that has destroyed the country's energy independence, driven energy prices higher, and left Americans more vulnerable to blackouts. 

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Something of a retread of the Obama-era "Clean Power Plan," the Biden EPA unveiled its new rule that would mandate most coal- and natural gas-fired power plants in the U.S. to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent over a five-year period beginning in 2035 or be shuttered by federal regulators. 

This new rule — one that is being inflicted without assent from Congress — will require drastic and expensive retrofits of existing power plants and a redesign of planned future plants in the United States if they intend to remain in or start operations. Currently, only one of the hundreds of coal-fired power plants in the country has carbon-capture technology in place, according to The New York Times. 

According to the Energy Information Administration, as of 2021, there were 269 plants using primarily coal to generate power and 2,020 using natural gas. Of all U.S. power generation, nearly 20 percent comes from coal-fired plants while almost 40 percent is from natural gas — meaning Biden's rule goes after plants responsible for around 60 percent of America's current electricity production system. 

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"The EPA’s proposed rule needlessly requiring carbon capture on existing coal and gas-fired power plants is more far-reaching than even the Clean Power Plan was," noted Jason Isaac of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, referring to the Biden EPA's previous attempt to go around Congress to implement a rule aimed at killing coal-fired power plants. 

"Carbon capture technologies are so expensive that the result will be the sudden retirement of reliable generation, and there will be nothing to replace it," Isaac said. "This is a prime example of an unelected executive agency run amok, with a single-minded agenda of eliminating fossil fuels and controlling how we produce and consume energy regardless of the costs or consequences, all while doing nothing to mitigate a changing climate," he explained. 

Like the Clean Power Plan, Biden's new EPA rule aimed at legislating by executive fiat and going around Americans' elected representatives in Congress is likely to face swift legal challenges, as the previous Clean Power Plan did before ultimately being ruled illegal by the Supreme Court.

"EPA’s proposal is a sort of nationalization of the utility industry," noted Steve Milloy, a senior legal fellow at the Energy & Environment Legal Institute. "While many utilities have mused about net zero by 2050, the EPA proposal would lock these musings into law. This would essentially give EPA control over utilities by forcing them to implement net zero," Milloy — who also advised the Trump administration's EPA transition team — explained. "As EPA knows that the net zero agenda is impossible, especially through mandatory carbon capture and sequestration, the utilities would need EPA’s forbearance to avoid violating emissions standards, putting them at the agency’s not-so-tender mercies."

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Heartland Institute President James Taylor shared similar concerns with Townhall. "This proposed rule would be the death knell of America's global economic competitiveness and a dream come true for a hostile China," Taylor warned. "We simply cannot remain globally competitive if we eliminate the utilization of America's most affordable, reliable energy sources — which this regulation would do — while China, India, and most of the rest of the world wisely continue to power their economies on affordable coal and other conventional energy sources."

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), even before the proposed rule was unveiled, said he would oppose all EPA nominees over this act of "government overreach." Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) reacted to the Biden administration's rule on Thursday, calling it "a threat to reliable and affordable U.S. energy" that is "also a threat to American and Louisiana jobs." 

In addition, Senator Shelley Moore Capito pledged to "introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval to protect workers and families from the disastrous impacts of these latest job-killing regulations." The Biden EPA's new rule, Capito added, "is the Biden administration's most blatant attempt yet to close down power plants and kill American energy jobs." 

"The EPA has already tried this illegal overreach, which was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court, but not before it devastated communities in West Virginia and across the country," Capito reminded. "At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to fill up their tanks and pay their utility bills under President Biden, it’s reprehensible that this administration would clamp down even further on domestic energy production while advancing policies meant to increase demand for electricity."

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