The Biden administration is proposing a rule that would require most fossil fuel power plants to cut their greenhouse gas emissions 90 percent between 2035 and 2040 — or shut down. The regulation is the latest step in President Joe Biden’s campaign to transition the U.S. economy to renewable energy, mainly weather-dependent wind and solar energy that only generate electricity when the wind blows and the sun shines. That regulation is but one of six being introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that affect coal plants and, they come on top of other administration rules and standards to promote the use of electric cars (adding huge new demand on electrical generation and distribution), subsidize green energy sources and tighten regulations on products including gas stoves and dishwashers. All of these regulations will increase upfront and/or operational costs for American families that are already struggling with the results of the Biden administration’s climate policy to date.

The proposed power plant rule from the EPA would require steep greenhouse gas emission cuts from plants burning coal or natural gas, which together provide 60 percent of the nation’s electricity—3 times more than the amount the politically correct solar and wind plants are producing. To justify the size of the cuts, the agency says fossil fuel plants could capture their greenhouse gas emissions before they hit the atmosphere — a technology that no power plant in the United States uses now due to its prohibitive cost. EPA is supposedly counting on CCS despite the technology not being adequately demonstrated or commercially available. So, in other words, Biden’s EPA is pricing coal and natural gas out of the U.S. electrical system despite their reliable and affordable power production. According to the EPA rule, if utilities hasten their decisions to shut down their coal plants—plants that could continue operating for decades—by shuttering them during the first half of the 2030s, those plants would avoid most or all of the emission-reduction mandates. In essence, the Biden Administration is placing a bounty on coal plants. This action so incensed Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee that he has vowed to refuse to support any Biden appointments to the EPA.

Source: Politico

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology on the scale needed to save these coal and natural gas plants would require dramatically ramping up the CCS industry and constructing potentially thousands of miles of pipelines to carry the carbon dioxide to underground storage sites. The cost would be phenomenal so the administration is betting on additional wind and solar power instead, which it is heavily incentivizing, without letting the American public know the extreme cost of the back-up battery power that would be required. One estimate indicates that the grid-backup battery costs could reach $290 trillion (12.6 times the USA’s 2021 GDP), based on actual 2019 and 2020 hourly intermittent electricity generation data, rather than annual average data utilized in the other studies, which would still cost upwards of $20 to $30 trillion in initial outlays.

The feasibility of CCS technology is also in question as Congress has been unable to agree on permitting changes that could speed up pipeline projects that would be needed to move the carbon dioxide to storage facilities. Also, EPA’s processing of applications for carbon storage wells around the United States has been extremely slow—clearly not commensurate with the permitting reform that would allow these types of projects to be built in an expedited manner. It raises the question of whether the Biden administration truly wants to pursue CCS projects and incentivize such development, or is just using it as a ploy to ensure these coal plants retire, especially given President Biden’s observation in 2022 that “we’re going to be shutting down a lot of coal plants.”

According to Senator Joe Manchin, “This Administration is determined to advance its radical climate agenda and has made it clear they are hell bent on doing everything in their power to regulate coal and gas-fueled power plants out of existence, no matter the cost to energy security and reliability.” Senator John Barrasso indicated, “There’s a potential catastrophe coming because Biden’s administration is retiring current sources of energy much, much faster than you can get the new sources — the renewable energy they want — online.”

The Biden administration will face legal challenges as did President Obama’s power plant rule from 2015, which federal courts had stalled before the Trump administration nixed it. The Supreme Court also curbed EPA’s authority over the power sector less than a year ago. Based on that decision, EPA knows it must impose requirements only at individual power plants, not across the power sector as a whole. For that reason, the EPA thinks its current rule will withstand challenges.

The rule, Reg. 2060-AV09, is a proposal that EPA expects to complete in a year or so, after taking public comment. But, that timeline does not give the Biden administration much time to defend it in court before the 2024 election. And if EPA takes too long in 2024 to issue a final rule, it could move into a time period where Congress could use the Congressional Review Act to nix it, if the House, Senate and President agree, which will depend on the outcome of the 2024 election.


The Biden administration is attacking the coal industry with a vengeance with 6 rules to ensure that coal power plants shutter. Besides this power plant rule, the EPA has rules on requiring coal plants across 23 states to reduce emissions of smog-forming emissions, requiring stronger limits on plants’ emissions of mercury and other toxic metals, requiring the reduction of over half a billion pounds of wastewater disposal, and restricting the disposal of coal ash.

EPA is betting on CCS as a means to legitimize the power plant rule for coal and natural gas plants—a technology that is expensive and not commercially demonstrated. Otherwise, plants would need to shutter, on which the administration is most likely betting. Typically, a tactic of anti-fossil energy proponents is to heap economic burdens on the technology and then, when they fail, argue that they were “uneconomic.” In fact, their actions made them uneconomic.

Court challenges are expected and the Biden administration is up against a timeline regarding the next election where the Congressional Review Act could be used. Regardless, the Biden administration is clearly not looking for reliable and affordable power. Rather, it prefers weather-dependent solar and wind power that needs very expensive back-up battery power—at a cost multiple times larger than the U.S. economy– to sustain the U.S. electrical grid.

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