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Biden admin punts major power plant crackdown until after 2024 election

via Forbes Breaking News
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The Biden administration is delaying finalizing most proposed regulations targeting emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants until after the 2022 midterm elections.

In May 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a proposal that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by restricting existing coal and new natural gas plants.

However, amid pressure from industry groups, the EPA announced a new approach that will exempt existing natural gas plants from regulations.

The agency will finalize rules for coal plants and future gas plants in the coming weeks, but will issue a separate proposal on existing natural gas plants later this year or in 2023.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said, “As EPA works towards final standards to cut climate pollution from existing coal and new gas-fired power plants later this spring, the Agency is taking a new, comprehensive approach to cover the entire fleet of natural gas-fired turbines, as well as cover more pollutants including climate, toxic and criteria air pollution.”

Regan continued, “This stronger, more durable approach will achieve greater emissions reductions than the current proposal.”

While environmental groups like the Sierra Club support addressing multiple pollutants from gas plants, the delayed regulations for existing natural gas facilities leaves most of the sector untouched until after the elections.

Ben Jealous, the executive director of environmental group Sierra Club, said, “Sierra Club supports the Biden administration’s new strategy to address a broad range of pollutants emitted by gas-fired power plants.”

“Strong protections against gas plant emissions will help the United States meet its international climate commitments while protecting the most vulnerable communities from the pollution contaminating their air,” said Jealous.

Jealous added, “We look forward to working closely with the Biden EPA to quickly implement the building blocks of its new multi-pollutant approach for gas plants to ensure the strongest possible protections for our environment and public health.”

The Biden administration is punting on finalizing the bulk of proposed environmental regulations targeting existing fossil fuel-fired power plants until after the upcoming election.

In an unexpected announcement Thursday evening, the unveiled its “new” approach to regulating emissions from fossil fuel plants, which generate more than 60% of the nation’s electricity. Under the plan, EPA will move forward with parts of its power plant proposal unveiled in May 2023, but delay any regulations impacting existing natural gas plants until late this year or next year.

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