The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released its much-anticipated proposal to cut emissions for fossil fuel power plants – which if finalized would result in almost all U.S. coal plants having to cut or capture nearly all their carbon dioxide emissions by 2038 or be shuttered.
The proposal, if made final, would also apply to large, frequently used, gas-fired power plants and it would require them to capture smokestack emissions using a technology that has long been promised but is not in widespread use in the country, according to the Associated Press.
Greenhouse gas emissions from such plants is the country’s second-largest contributor to climate change, the wire service also reports. The No. 1 emissions contributor is the transportation sector.
“This administration is committed to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis and taking the necessary actions required,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in announcing the proposal, in a speech at the University of Maryland.
If the rule is finalized, it would mark the first time the federal government has restricted carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, which generate about 25% of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution, the wire service reports.
And the rule would apply to future electric plants as well.
In 2019, the EPA dismissed carbon capture as a feasible solution, saying it was too costly and hadn’t been “adequately demonstrated” commercially.
President Biden has been vocal about his goal for a zero-emissions electric grid by 2035.
Energy advocacy group Power The Future called the proposal an “extreme decree” that is bound to “cut power and raise costs.”
Group President Daniel Turner said Biden is “hell-bent on finishing the war on coal … ignoring Congress, the Supreme Court, and reality in the process.”