EPA’s Proposed Carbon Rule Seeks to Eliminate the Coal Fleet  

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Proposed Rule to control carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fueled power plants. The Proposed Rule follows a decision last year by the U.S. Supreme Court that limits the ways in which EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA). As written, the Carbon Proposal is likely to have serious adverse impacts on grid reliability by seeking to eliminate the nation’s coal fleet.  

The Proposed Rule suffers from many fundamental legal flaws and technical deficiencies that EPA can remedy only by withdrawing the Proposed Rule, conducting realistic and meaningful analysis, and then reproposing an entirely new rule.  These legal flaws and technical deficiencies include the following:

  • The Carbon Proposal would force the premature shutdown of coal-fired generation and deprive the grid of essential reliability attributes that coal provides. 
  • The premature shutdown of coal plants will exacerbate the already dire prospect of electricity shortages and other reliability problems in many regions of the country. 
  • EPA has failed to evaluate the reliability impacts of its Carbon Proposal, despite warnings from impartial grid officials that the retirement of coal plants could cause reliability problems. 
  • The Proposed Rule contains many fundamental legal flaws.  These include violation of the major question doctrine and the prohibition against generation shifting, which were the basis for last year’s Supreme Court decision, and the fact that the controls EPA has proposed are not adequately demonstrated or feasible.

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