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We’re leading an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

Join our work today to help us build a thriving and just clean energy future. 

Republicans Are Wrong: EPA’s Carbon Standards Are Reliable, Affordable, and Achievable

EPA’s carbon standards are common-sense safeguards to ramp down climate pollution from the second-largest source of emissions while delivering affordable, reliable, and achievable clean energy for Americans across the country.

Republicans like Sen. McConnell are peddling misinformation and backward-looking talking points. © 2014 Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

This spring, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed carbon standards for new and existing power plants, a key tool to ramp down climate pollution in the second most polluting sector of our economy: the power sector. These carbon standards will begin to address the unfettered climate pollution that is being spewed by fossil-fired power plants, bring the Biden administration closer to delivering its climate commitments, and protect the American people from the worst impacts of climate change. 

But ever since the carbon standards’ unveiling, Republicans have hit the ground running to attack them, doubling down on the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis. Peddling misinformation and backward-looking talking points, Republicans seem hell-bent on helping the fossil fuel industry carry on with business as usual—raking in record profits while dodging any responsibility for the climate-warming pollution that is harming us all. 

But the reality stands in stark contrast to these falsehoods: EPA’s carbon standards are common-sense safeguards to ramp down climate pollution from the second-largest source of emissions while delivering affordable, reliable, and achievable clean energy for Americans across the country. 

 Debunking Republican Falsehoods One at a Time 


❌ FALSE REPUBLICAN CLAIM: EPA’s “efforts to transform the nation’s electricity system would have damaging and lasting effects on reliability for Americans across the country.” 

- Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 

✅ FACT: Americans are already facing an increasingly unreliable fossil-based grid with surging prices and unpredictable blackouts in the face of climate-driven extreme weather. We need increased diversity, an enhanced grid, and climate resilience—not more of the same that's already failing us and costing lives

Look no further than the extreme weather pummeling the grid in places like Texas, where the state’s primary power servicer, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), asked communities to turn off their power voluntarily to avoid blackouts amidst record-breaking heat waves. And what happened when extreme heat did plague the Texas grid? Renewable solar and wind kept the lights on

The aging, fossil-powered grid we have now isn’t reliable. And it is important to remember that EPA has set traditional, inside-the-fenceline pollution standards under the Clean Air Act for decades with no impact on reliability. And these rules would continue that tradition while also allowing individual states to have time and flexibility under the Clean Air Act’s 111(d) rule to comply with pollution standards in the way that best serves the unique situation and concerns of their state without compromising reliable electricity for ratepayers.


❌ FALSE REPUBLICAN CLAIM: EPA’s carbon standards require “costs that [producers] cannot swallow, and pain that lower-income ratepayers cannot stomach.” 

- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

✅ FACT: The fossil fuel industry and its Congressional bidders often claim astronomical costs for common-sense environmental policies because it interferes with their profit-raking status quo. But time and again we see that the fossil-gas industry is quite capable of innovating and adapting to pollution standards at reasonable costs. And the actuality of the current situation makes it even more straightforward: EPA and outside experts have modeled that the proposed carbon standards would not raise costs more than a fraction of a percent.

As for concerns about what happens in the interim? Congress has already provided power companies with historic tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), allowing utility providers to reduce emissions from their power plants at very low cost and slashing compliance costs for EPA’s proposed power plant rules. 

Lastly, it’s necessary to acknowledge that the benefits of reduced climate change and improved human health will far outweigh the former costs and will save consumers and the economy tens of billions of dollars. The overlap between climate pollution and the toxic air pollution that threatens human health is nearly synonymous. By ramping down power sector climate pollution, we are simultaneously mitigating the ongoing threat to public health that impacts hundreds of millions of Americans every year—namely those in Black, Brown, Indigenous, and frontline communities. Cleaning up climate pollution is not just a matter of environmentalism, it is a matter of public health. With EPA’s carbon standards, we can ramp down extreme, costly, climate impacts while also protecting the vitality of American communities. 

Blog Post Image

In November 2021, EPA Administrator Regan began a "Journey to Justice" tour to spotlight longstanding environmental justice concerns. Here, he speaks with residents in Houston about the impact of air and water pollution from nearby facilities. (Photo coutesy EPA)


❌ FALSE REPUBLICAN CLAIM: EPA’s timelines for its carbon standards “are infeasible and technologically unattainable if the grid is to remain operational.” 

- Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)

✅ FACT: Fossil power companies have always been drama queens about complying with Clean Air Act pollution limits. And as a result, they have ceded all credibility by crying wolf about regulations that were easy and affordable to comply with from the beginning—just like EPA’s carbon standards are.

The history books show us that—from rules to combat acid rain in the ‘90s to the Obama Clean Power Plan targets—power companies’ knee-jerk response to any Clean Air Act rule is to claim that it will be unaffordable and unachievable. But those same history books show us that the fossil fuel industry is, in fact, very capable of adapting and that these regulations are not just achievable but in some cases are even less ambitious than industry’s own trajectory.

With many of EPA’s requirements not kicking in until 2035, the fossil fuel industry has a 13-year lead time to get their affairs in order and comply with EPA’s standards. So, on top of being excessively generous as regulation timelines go, the reality is that even shorter timelines are absolutely possible—and necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

The Verdict’s In: EPA’s Carbon Standards Are Reliable, Affordable, & Achievable

Republicans love to parrot the talking points of the fossil fuel industry executives lining their pockets—but the facts paint a different reality. By attacking EPA’s proposed carbon standards for power plants, Congressional Republicans are trying to lock in unnecessary climate pollution that accelerates the climate crisis just to protect their donors’ bottom line. But with the climate crisis at our door, we must face reality: We need major cuts to climate pollution, and we need them fast.

EPA’s carbon standards provide a solution. These standards allow us to drive down climate warming pollution in our power sector in a way that is reliable, affordable, and achievable for power companies and American communities alike. With EPA’s proposed carbon standards we can address the main drivers of catastrophic climate warming from the power sector, hold the fossil fuel industry accountable, and get to work in creating an even more prosperous energy economy for generations to come.

Here's What You Can Do

There's still time to stand up for strong carbon pollution standards. Join Evergreen Action now and we'll help you send a comment to EPA urging them to reduce power plant pollution sooner.