EPA Delivers Major Climate Pollution Reductions & Lifesaving Benefits With New Power Sector Rules

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releasing final carbon standards for power plants, coal ash rules, effluent limitation guidelines (ELG), and mercury and air toxic standards (MATS), Evergreen Senior Power Sector Policy Lead Charles Harper released the following statement:

“EPA’s newly finalized rules are a lifesaving addition to its multi-pollutant strategy to clean up our power sector. These standards represent the first-ever federal limits on climate pollution from these fossil power plants, as well as necessary updates to limits on toxic heavy metal discharge into our waterways, coal ash seeping into our groundwater, and mercury and other pollutants in the air we breathe. Power plants emit one-quarter of all U.S. climate pollution, and the combined impact of these rules will cut nearly 2 billion tons of carbon emissions and save tens of thousands of lives—largely in disadvantaged communities that live near fossil fuel power plants.

“We are thrilled that EPA took steps to strengthen its carbon standards for new gas plants, while maintaining the flexibility for utilities to fully comply without impacting grid reliability or consumer costs. EPA’s smart decision to expand its most stringent baseload standard to cover more gas plants in the final rule will make it more difficult for power companies to use loopholes to avoid requirements. And EPA’s move to accelerate compliance timelines in the final rule will protect Americans from years of unabated gas pollution.

“Today’s announcements mark a major milestone on America’s transition to a clean energy future. And we look forward to the work ahead with EPA and other agencies to regulate climate pollution from existing gas plants and modernize our grid to keep up with growing demand without resorting to the expensive, polluting technologies of the past. We’re celebrating this huge step forward and excited to continue making progress with President Biden.”

Last year, Evergreen and NRDC released Powering Toward 100 Percent Clean Power by 2035, a report detailing the path forward on President Biden’s clean energy targets after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, including ambitious carbon standards for power plants. Evergreen has also been tracking EPA’s progress on its multi-pollutant power sector strategy with a series of EPA report cards, with the most recent update in February of this year.