Biden Administration Misses the Mark With Troubling Delays In Key Power Sector Rules

In response to the release of the fall Unified Regulatory Agenda, Evergreen Action Executive Director Jamal Raad released the following statement:

“The delays reflected in the updated Unified Regulatory Agenda are deeply troubling. To live up to President Biden’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and achieve 100% clean power by 2035, EPA needs to move further and faster this year to finalize and implement rules to comprehensively tackle pollution from the power sector. Today, the agency missed the mark, with projected delays on several rules vital to that effort.

“Of particular concern are the new delays in carbon standards for new and existing power plants which are critical to deliver on President Biden’s climate and clean energy commitments. Planning to wait until summer 2024 to finalize these rules threatens their complete implementation before the end of President Biden’s first term. It could also make them vulnerable to being blocked by Congressional Review in the next Congress. Just as important as getting carbon standards finalized quickly is ensuring they are strong enough to fulfill president Biden’s climate commitments. EPA has had ample time to build rules that will do that and also withstand legal challenges. We can cut carbon pollution by 90% from coal and gas fired power plants using readily available technology, and these rules must reflect that.

“Waiting to finalize any rules tackling power sector pollution will mean exposing Americans to more dangerous pollution that we know contributes to tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of illnesses every year. Black Americans are more likely to live near coal-fired power plants than their white counterparts, so these delays will perpetuate long standing environmental injustices that President Biden campaigned on addressing. EPA must make every effort to prevent further delay and advance critical power sector rules that are in line with the president's commitments and the urgency of the climate crisis.

Last February, Evergreen called on EPA to pursue a coordinated, comprehensive regulatory strategy to address power sector pollution in 6 Ways President Biden Can Use Executive Action to Take on the Climate Crisis. Then in October, Evergreen released Falling Behind: A Report Card on EPA’s Progress on 10 Important Power Sector Rules, which found that the agency was behind schedule on eight of the ten most important rules to tackle power sector pollution and is at risk of leaving critical regulations unfinished at the end of the president's first term or subject to the Congressional Review Act. Since then, the agency has either taken no action or announced further delays on nine of those rules, leaving only one on schedule.