In Texas speech, Biden EPA chief warns power plants of pollution –

In Texas speech, Biden EPA chief warns power plants of pollution –
EPA Administrator Michael Reagan speaks at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on March 10. (F. Carter Smith / Bloomberg News)

On Thursday, Environment Agency director Michael Reagan briefed the US energy sector, showing how the Biden administration intends to reduce air and water pollution from the nation’s power plants.

Speaking at an energy executive meeting in Houston, President Biden’s environmental director released a series of regulatory actions to tighten the rules in the coming months. Toxic mercury, smoke-forming compounds and other pollutants as the White House looks for ways to accelerate the country’s transition to clean electricity.

While noting that there has been a significant drop in air pollution from power plants and other sources since the Clean Air Act was enacted in 1970, Reagan said more work needs to be done to clean up the unhealthy air that often strikes. poorer neighborhoods and more minorities. .

The red line means that 45 million Americans are breathing more polluted air 50 years after its completion.

“While power plants continue to demonstrate significant leadership in reducing pollution, they remain the largest stationary source of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide,” Reagan said. He said. CERAWeek, an annual energy conference that states that around 8,000 people die prematurely from this type of pollution each year.

“Guys, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” he continued. “I know it’s difficult. “But we think there is a way to do this that protects public health and continues to ensure that all of you need clean energy to accelerate the future.”

Reagan’s remarks in Texas came as the Biden administration sought to meet its goal of running the U.S. power grid entirely on clean energy by 2035 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

This request, however, has been opposed by the Supreme Court, Republicans, and even members of Biden’s party in Congress. While the EPA is expected to make some moves due to court orders and other deadlines, Reagan said the agency will take an “integrated and coordinated approach” that creates “long-term regulatory investment guarantee.”

Reagan said the agency will release a proposal on Friday to force power plants and factories to reduce smoke emissions that cross state lines. The move aims to improve air quality in windy countries like New England and the Mid-Atlantic, which have no control over industrial pollution in the Midwest.

Wind-resistant countries often don’t want to reduce pollution at their borders because “they require them to degrade local crops,” said John Walk, director of clean air at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The EPA is also considering tightening requirements for mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin. As his administration accelerates efforts to write new weather regulations, Biden this week named Joseph Goffman, a veteran climate expert, head of the EPA’s Meteorological Office.

Monitoring of Biden’s environmental actions

Reagan also said the agency will propose a rule to stop toxic pollutants in wells where waste from coal burning is stored in drinking water and infiltrates the environment.

“It’s been a long time,” said Tom’s husband, a lawyer for Altman Newman, a law firm representing environmental groups.

Tom Cooney, president of the Edison Electric Institute, a lobby group for investor-owned energy companies, said public services support pollution reduction but are unwilling to compromise on “reliability and efficiency. accessibility that our customers appreciate “.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Director Reagan to develop a coordinated and comprehensive policy approach to EPA efforts,” he added.

Even without direct regulation of climate-warming emissions, the business of burning coal for electricity has stalled over the past decade as low-cost gas, wind and solar projects hit the internet. According to the Sierra Club, more than 260 coal-fired power plants have been closed or completely closed since 2009.

Later this spring, Reagan said the EPA will publish a paper showing how gas-fired power plants can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While these recommendations will not be legally binding, she said, “create a public dialogue on approaches to reduce climate pollution.”

Despite the closure of the coal-fired power plant, the energy sector remains the second largest source of emissions for global warming in the country. Most of the carbon pollution is the exhaust from coal-fired power plants.

So far, Biden has struggled to pass a major climate bill in Congress. Democratic leaders rejected a proposal that forced public utilities to use solar, wind and other renewable energy after opposition from the Senate’s lead voice, Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.).

At the Supreme Court, conservative judges voiced their doubts that the EPA could expand climate regulation without clearer instructions from Congress.

The Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the powers of the GOP-led states and the agency in the coal mining industry to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in power plants. With three judges elected by President Donald Trump, the current court is even more to the right than the one that stopped President Barack Obama’s main effort to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector, known as the Clean Energy Plan. Trump’s plan to ease emissions regulations, dubbed the “current clean energy rule,” was later overturned by a federal court.

Biden’s team is drafting carbon regulations for new and existing power plants that will stand up to the Supreme Court’s review. Speaking in Houston, he said Reagan expects to announce the plan later this year.

The world has very little waiting time. A major report by UN climate scientists last month concluded that countries have a “short and fast-closing window” to reduce emissions and ensure a viable and sustainable future for all.

Sign up to receive the latest updates on climate change, energy and the environment every Thursday

Source: Washington Post