The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules this week to regulate the fossil fuel industry out of business.
New carbon pollution standards for coal and natural gas-fired power plants unveiled Thursday demand plants reduce their emissions by a staggering 90 percent within two decades or face closure. The new rules come less than a year after the Supreme Court struck down the agency’s unilateral rule-making authority to implement emissions limits on existing power plants in West Virginia v. EPA.
“By proposing new standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants, EPA is delivering on its mission to reduce harmful pollution that threatens people’s health and wellbeing,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a press release. “EPA’s proposal relies on proven, readily available technologies to limit carbon pollution and seizes the momentum already underway in the power sector to move toward a cleaner future.”
Compliance with the agency’s mandatory targets, however, would require the deployment of innovative carbon capture technologies not in use at a single U.S. power plant. The new rules will push utilities to retire aging coal plants while the administration creates an artificial market for energy generation by wind and solar through generous subsidies. The EPA regulations coincide with $370 billion from the misleadingly named Inflation Reduction Act to promote Democrats’ preferred energy sources.
Tom Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, told The Federalist the environmental regulations threaten to undermine the power grid if the proposed rules make it past the courts.
“If this regulation survives a court challenge, which is very much in doubt,” Pyle said, “It will lead to more blackouts and higher electricity prices.”
“But the real point of the regulation is to immediately make it more difficult to invest in natural gas and coal-fired power plants,” he added. The administrative obstacle to investment in the fossil fuel industry gives “woke Wall Street financiers like Larry Fink another excuse to justify [Environmental, Social, and Governance]-related lending and borrowing decisions at the same time.”
In June, the Supreme Court overruled the EPA’s authority to singlehandedly restructure the U.S. power grid without congressional approval. The challenge rose over President Barack Obama’s effort to bypass Congress and impose the Clean Power Plan through the administrative state. David Bernhardt, a long-time administrator who previously served as secretary of the Interior under President Donald Trump, outlined the consequences of the decision in a new book out this week.
“The bottom line,” Bernhardt wrote, “is that if the federal judiciary pays homage to the West Virginia decision, it will likely mean that the people will make the rules through their elected representatives — not federal bureaucrats.”
Since the EPA’s draft rule relies on new and unproven technologies to meet agency requirements, the new regulations present a sweeping transformation of the power grid. While ultimately up to the courts to decide, the broad impact of the proposal goes well beyond the scope of EPA authority that was narrowed by the high bench last summer.
“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,'” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion of West Virginia v. EPA. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme. … A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”