Tag Archive for: EPA Rule

New EPA Rule Is a Death Sentence for American Energy

The Environmental Protection Agency plays judge, jury, and executioner—and its newest-issued rule is a death sentence to American energy and energy-producing states.

Meanwhile, states like Pennsylvania, which will be disproportionately harmed by the rule because of our abundant natural gas production, hold the key to America’s increasing energy needs, generating immense economic development and reducing the very emissions targeted by this heavy-handed agency.

The EPA unilaterally issued a final rule establishing draconian emission standards that target existing coal and new natural gas power plants nationwide. It requires 90% carbon capture for power-generating facilities by 2032.

Aside from its questionable legality, the new rule is unfeasible. The EPA proposed impossible standards. Current carbon-capture technology—a water- and energy-intensive process that filters and sequesters emissions—neither meets this standard nor projects to do so in the next decade.

Research suggests that current technology could achieve, at best, 10% capture, which still doesn’t factor in the immense implementation costs. No utility-scale natural gas carbon capture plant exists today, so forcing a transition to nonexistent technology within a decade is unreasonable.

This egregious federal overreach will not stand in court. In West Virginia v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the agency lacked the legal authority to devise such emissions caps. As the current legal challenge works through the courts, our highest court will likely strike down this new rule, too.

National energy forecasts show rising demand with a plummeting capacity for our existing energy infrastructure to deliver. Because of bad policies in the name of climate radicalism, early retirements of fossil fuel-based power-generating facilities are already catapulting us to an electrical grid reliability crisis. Meanwhile, utility bills increase as power generators chase federal subsidies to overbuild unreliable, weather-dependent wind- and solar-based electrical generation facilities.

Because of this, two-thirds of the United States risks major blackouts in the next few years. Yet, the EPA doesn’t consider grid reliability when creating its regulations, much less safeguard it.

Per agency protocol, the EPA “does not conduct operational reliability studies,” meaning the agency ignores the widening gap between supply and demand.

The failure to defend grid reliability is a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, disaster has already struck. In 2022, a winter storm in Texas caused 4.5 million people to lose power, killing 246 people who couldn’t heat their homes in subzero temperatures. Increased capacity—namely, more natural gas pipelines—could have saved lives in Texas. The North American Electric Reliability Corp. warned lawmakers that the lack of pipelines and infrastructure leaves the country susceptible to similar tragedies.

Natural gas remains the most economically feasible option to meet that demand in time. (Meanwhile, work must continue to leverage other energy sources, such as nuclear, to accommodate our growing need for baseload power, which is the minimum amount needed to maintain and power our grid.)

To understand the benefits of natural gas, Pennsylvania, the second-largest producer of natural gas and the largest energy exporter in the nation, provides ample evidence.

In the last two decades, the Keystone State’s energy generation sector has increased energy production and reduced emissions—all thanks to natural gas.

The share of Pennsylvania’s electricity production that comes from natural gas increased from 5% in 2005 to 59% in 2022. During that same period, overall energy production emissions dropped 46%, including the most significant year-over-year decline on record.

Transitioning to natural gas proved to be a boon to public health in Pennsylvania. This transition removed about 12.5 million tons of nitrogen and sulfur oxides—emissions associated with respiratory ailments like asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and lung cancer.

Using the EPA’s methodology for quantifying the health impact of removing these emissions from the atmosphere, Pennsylvania’s increased use of natural gas yielded between $450 billion and $1.04 trillion in public health benefits for residents.

Despite natural gas’ benefits, Pennsylvania still endures the same worrisome trend of pernicious eco-fundamentalist policies. Pennsylvania lawmakers flirt with onerous “cap and trade” schemes, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or the newly proposed Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Initiative. By slapping a carbon tax on energy production, these two initiatives guarantee increased utility bills for inflation-weary Pennsylvanians.

The EPA’s rule is like these initiatives on steroids. The rule will not only lead to blackouts and brownouts nationwide but also will force the economies of energy-producing states to forego supporting—and benefiting from—our ever-growing energy demands.

Instead, policymakers must remove the regulatory barriers that hamstring energy-producing states and prevent the energy industry from providing reliable, clean power.

Moreover, Congress must advance the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, a policy supported by 68% of Americans, to boost accountability and transparency with federal regulators. The act would require Congress to approve administrative rules that would have significant financial impacts before they could take effect.

A future without fossil fuel-generated power is a myth. Almost 80% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuel sources. Rather than obstruct clean, reliable energy, the EPA must allow natural gas to light the way to American energy independence.

AUTHORS

André Béliveau is the senior manager of energy policy at the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania’s free-market think tank. On X: .

Amy O. Cooke is president and chairwoman of the Board of Always on Energy Research. On X: .