Celebrating Earth Week, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan introduced new rules that will crush the coal business unless they are overturned.

Today, April 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a suite of final rules to reduce pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

“Today, EPA is proud to make good on the Biden-Harris Administration’s vision to tackle climate change and to protect all communities from pollution in our air, water, and in our neighborhoods,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “By developing these standards in a clear, transparent, inclusive manner, EPA is cutting pollution while ensuring that power companies can make smart investments and continue to deliver reliable electricity for all Americans.”

The suite of final rules includes:

  • A final rule for existing coal-fired and new natural gas-fired power plants that would ensure that all coal-fired plants that plan to run in the long-term and all new baseload gas-fired plants control 90% of their carbon pollution.
  • A final rule strengthening and updating the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal-fired power plants, tightening the emissions standard for toxic metals by 67% and finalizing a 70% reduction in the emissions standard for mercury from existing lignite-fired sources.
  • A final rule to reduce pollutants discharged through wastewater from coal-fired power plants by more than 660 million lb/y.
  • A final rule that will require the safe management of coal ash that is placed in areas that were unregulated at the federal level until now.

The National Mining Association (NMA) slammed the Biden administration’s suite of rules, saying they were specifically designed to force the closure of well-operating coal plants – plants that are the primary source of generation in many states, and the source of grid-saving baseload power across the country – while conducting zero analysis of the collective impact of the rules on grid reliability.

“For the last three years, the administration has methodically developed and executed a comprehensive strategy to force the closure of well-operating coal plants,” said Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO.  “It has refused to account for irrefutable evidence that electricity demand is soaring, disregarded validated reliability warnings from grid experts related to coal plant closures, and ignored the basic fact that there is no adequate replacement ready to replace the sorely needed, dispatchable generating capacity coal provides once it is shuttered. We’ve seen this unlawful regulatory playbook before, challenged it and the Supreme Court agreed with our take; we will do so again and expect the same outcome.”