President Biden on the campaign trailed vowed to kill the fossil fuel industry—an industry that is the backbone of the U.S. economy and the American way of life. As such, the Biden administration has been active in setting regulations and executive orders that are anti-oil, natural gas and coal since Biden’s first day in office. EPA’s proposed power plant rule is harmful enough already because it requires technologies that are not yet commercially available nor economic to be added to existing coal plants and new coal and gas plants in order to keep them operational. But now Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering significantly strengthening that rule before its finalization–a critical part of President Biden ’s climate agenda.

In May 2023, the EPA issued a proposed rule that called for drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions from three categories of power plants: existing coal plants, existing gas plants and new gas plants. But in February, the agency said the final rule would no longer cover existing gas plants, delaying it to a later rule, because utilities indicated that including existing gas plants would severely hinder electric reliability on an already struggling grid. The new rule for existing gas plants is expected after the election in November. But now, EPA officials are considering strengthening the requirements for new gas plants for the final rule. Specifically, officials are considering making the final rule apply to new large gas plants that operate more than 40 percent of the time, rather than those that operate 50 percent of the time as the proposal had envisioned. The change could affect the majority of new gas plants built in the United States and severely affect electric grid operations.

Utility companies are planning for a large amount of construction of natural gas plants to meet new power demand fueled by data centers, AI, and Biden’s “electrification of everything” plans. There is a need to build reliable and affordable natural gas plants as many coal plants are being forced to shut down since they are being operated less and cannot recover their costs as wind and solar units are dispatched before them and as environmental groups continue to attack them in court. For example, the owner of the last two coal plants in New England announced that the facilities will close by 2025 and 2028 as part of a settlement with environmental groups. The Merrimack and Schiller stations, both in New Hampshire, are expected to be converted to solar facilities and expensive battery systems that can store excess electricity generated from solar panels and expensive offshore wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Edison Electric Institute has warned that ambitious EPA rules against the power industry could delay the construction of gas plants and undermine the reliability of the electric grid. The draft final power plant rule is currently under interagency review with the Office of Management and Budget.

The Power Plant Rule Requires Non-Existent Technology

Last May, the EPA proposed regulations that would force power companies to install carbon capture equipment (CCS) that siphons the carbon dioxide from a plant’s smokestack before it reaches the atmosphere or use hydrogen as a fuel for both existing and new gas-fired power plants. Since neither technology is economically available today, it is expected that there would be massive plant closures that would put the reliability of the U.S. electric grid in further jeopardy. The Edison Electric Institute identified significant challenges for existing natural gas generation in EPA’s original proposed rule.

The original proposal marks the first time the federal government restricted carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, which produce about 30 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, second to the transportation sector, as well as future electric plants. Almost all coal plants — along with large, frequently used gas-fired plants — would have had to cut or capture nearly all their carbon dioxide emissions by 2038. Plants that could not meet the new standards would be forced to shutter. Due to competition from natural gas plants and onerous regulations, no new coal plants have been constructed in the United States in more than a decade and dozens of coal-fired plants have closed in recent years. The National Mining Association warned of “an onslaught” of government regulation “designed to shut down the coal fleet prematurely″ when the EPA proposal was announced last year.

Coal, Natural Gas and Nuclear Are the Backbone of the U.S. Electric System

Coal provided just over 16 percent of U.S. electricity in 2023, down from 45 percent in 2010, and natural gas provided 43 percent of U.S. electricity in 2023. The two generators along with nuclear power, supplying 19 percent, are the major U.S. power facilities that keep the electric grid operating reliably with “dispatchable” on-demand power. The remainder of electricity generation comes from renewables such as hydropower, wind, and solar. The latter two technologies are intermittent and weather-driven and only produce power when the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing. They therefore must be backed up with dispatchable (or, “on-demand”) sources that can fill in during times when they are not available or by very expensive batteries that can store excess power from solar and wind generators when the sun is shing and the wind is blowing.


Biden’s EPA is doing its best to ensure that no new coal and very few natural gas plants get built in the United States by its power plant rule to be finalized in April. It is now considering making the final rule apply to new large gas plants that operate more than 40 percent of the time, rather than those that operate 50 percent of the time as the proposal had envisioned. The change could affect the majority of new gas plants built in the United States and severely affect electric grid operations. The rule will jeopardize the reliability of the U.S. electric power grid as more intermittent and weather-driven wind and solar power units are added to the grid and as more electrification takes place through Biden’s push for electric vehicles and electric heating technologies. Unless the Biden administration changes its policies, Americans can expect brownouts and blackouts and higher electric prices in the future as the back-up to wind and solar power are very expensive batteries. Since Biden has taken office, residential electricity prices have risen 27 percent and they are expected to rise more due to his policies.

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