‘We will see some coal retirements’: EPA administrator
After weeks of buildup, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its strictest-ever rules for power produced using natural gas, coal, and oil that could spur the use of carbon capture technologies.
The standards released on May 11 would affect new and old power infrastructure, including new natural gas turbines and the country’s existing coal fleet. Though the United States still has hundreds of coal plants, the number of such installations has fallen sharply during the past decade.
“We will see some coal retirements,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan told reporters on May 10.
He added that individual states and companies would have significant discretion in terms of implementation.
U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry in 2021 said the United States simply “won’t have coal” on its grid by 2030.
The EPA’s proposals are intended to induce U.S. power plants to boost their use of certain technologies, including the co-firing of fossil fuels with what it calls low-greenhouse gas (GHG) hydrogen and, in particular, the capture, sequestration, and storage of carbon.
More Details From EPA
Regan told reporters that the standards are about “clean air to breathe,” claiming that they would yield “substantial health benefits” as well as “regulatory certainty” for the energy sector.
The agency projects that the standards will help the United States avoid thousands of premature deaths, tens of thousands of lost workdays, and more than 300,000 asthma attacks just in the year 2030.
Regan and others with the EPA repeatedly stressed that they don’t believe that their vision runs afoul of West Virginia v. EPA.
That landmark Supreme Court decision, decided 6–3, concerned a carbon emissions plan for existing power plants put forth by the EPA under President Barack Obama.
The court found that Congress hadn’t given the agency the authority to issue such emissions caps, referencing the plan’s “generation shifting approach” from coal to natural gas and other sources.