New Climate Rule Aimed to Cut Power Plant Emissions by 2040

Under the Biden Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to aggressively combat climate change. According to major media outlets, EPA will soon release a rule requiring power plants to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, aiming to eliminate emissions by 2040. The regulation, currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget, reportedly would set stringent limits on fossil-fuel-burning power plants, requiring these plants to install capture carbon technology to reduce or eliminate emissions from smokestacks, or to switch fuels altogether. Although the rule is not yet final, reports indicate the limits in the rule are potentially so stringent that they could eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants by 2040, in line with Biden Administration targets for the electricity sector.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recently intervened with climate regulations, including a ruling last year that the Obama administration’s EPA surpassed its authority when it attempted to push power companies to switch from fossil fuel to clean energy through the Clean Power Plan. This new proposal comes in the wake of that decision, and seeks to accomplish similar policy goals to the previous EPA “generation-shifting” approach contemplated under the Clean Power Plan.

EPA is expected to publish the proposed regulation in the coming week, though a final rule will take months and will follow a public comment period. B&D will continue to monitor the development of this rule.

Beveridge & Diamond’s Air and Climate Change practice group helps private and municipal clients navigate all aspects of climate change initiatives, including state and federal regulatory programs, obligations arising under international agreements, private governance, and sustainability initiatives. For more information, contact the authors.