EPA’s New Carbon Pollution Standards Are Key In Cleaning Up Our Power Sector

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of its proposed carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants, Evergreen Action Executive Director Lena Moffitt released the following statement:

“We applaud President Biden and the EPA for this important step to tackle power sector climate pollution head-on. EPA’s proposed carbon standards are a critical tool to ramp down carbon pollution from new and existing power plants and an essential step to protect the American people from the worst impacts of climate change. 

“The power sector is the second largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., but until now, fossil fuel power plants have been allowed to spew unlimited amounts of greenhouse gas pollution, without federal regulation. These rules will help fulfill the EPA’s mandate under the Clean Air Act to reduce the carbon pollution that is threatening Americans’ public health and welfare. Many power plants in this country are built in low-income or communities of color, and these standards are an integral part of the EPA’s work, through multiple rules, to clean up power sector pollution that has burdened these communities for far too long.  

“These proposed rules are also just the start of the regulatory process. We look forward to engaging in the comment process to ensure these standards swiftly achieve the necessary emissions reductions and that they cover more sources responsible for power sector carbon pollution—more gas power plants, in particular. EPA must move to finalize these rules as quickly as possible—by early 2024.

“We commend President Biden and Administrator Regan for this important step to protect our climate and communities from carbon pollution, and we look forward to working with EPA to strengthen and finalize these important standards as swiftly as possible.”

Strong power sector carbon standards are essential to fulfill EPA’s mandate to protect Americans’ health and welfare from the carbon pollution fueling the climate crisis. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate carbon pollution from power plants—and their authority to do so was reaffirmed by Congress last year in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

According to recent modeling from NRDC, robust carbon standards, alongside IRA implementation, could reduce power sector emissions by up to 77 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. You can review this modeling while also reading more about how we can decarbonize the electricity sector in our paper, “Powering Toward 100 Percent Clean Power by 2035.”