Environment /

Biden Rule Wants Power Plants To Cut Pollution By 90%, Or Be Shut Down

Officials say that the updated policy would result in cleaner air, reducing deaths and negative health outcomes

The Biden administration has announced a rule change that would require the majority of U.S. power plants to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 90 percent between 2035 and 2040, or face the prospect of being shut down.

Environmental groups have touted such plans as a crucial step to reduce global warming, while opponents say these types of rules could threaten the nation’s electricity supply.

The latest proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aims to cut 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2042, which the agency says is equivalent to reducing annual emissions of 137 million passenger vehicles (roughly half the cars in the U.S.).

“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,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “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. Alongside historic investment taking place across America in clean energy manufacturing and deployment, these proposals will help deliver tremendous benefits to the American people—cutting climate pollution and other harmful pollutants, protecting people’s health, and driving American innovation.”

Republicans argue that the updated regulations are excessive and could signal devastation.

“There’s a potential catastrophe coming because Biden’s administration is retiring current sources of energy much, much faster than you can get the new sources — the renewable energy they want — online,” Politico quoted Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as saying. “Joe Biden just doesn’t have the capacity or the willingness to face the reality of what he and the Democrats are doing to the energy needs of the country.”

According to the EPA, the new guidelines would have a measurable impact on pollution and would prevent:

  • approximately 1,300 premature deaths
  • more than 800 hospital and emergency room visits
  • more than 300,000 cases of asthma attacks
  • 38,000 school absence days
  • 66,000 lost workdays

The agency also says that the power sector has already reduced carbon dioxide emissions 36 percent since 2005, while keeping pace with the nation’s growing energy demand.

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