New Rules from the Biden Administration to Reduce Climate Pollution from Coal and Gas-Powered Power Plants Emissions Based on Unproven Climate Mitigation Technologies


May 17, 2023
Contact: Christina Santi,


WASHINGTON – On Thursday, May 11, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first federal regulations in US history on greenhouse gasses emitted by both future and existing power plants that run on coal and natural gas – two major fossil fuels at the root cause of climate change and toxic air pollution, especially for communities of color and low-wealth. Existing power plants account for 25 percent of the planet-warming pollution produced by the United States, and these rules would require nearly all coal and gas-fired power plants to meet steep caps on carbon pollution by 2040.

The EPA projects that the new rules would reduce 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide within the next two decades and prevent more than 300,000 cases of asthma attacks, 1300 premature deaths, and close to 600 emergency room visits.

While this move by the Biden administration is a significant and much-needed step toward curbing the second-highest source of US greenhouse gas emissions, the proposed limits are predicated on untested carbon reduction methods like carbon capture and storage, co-firing with methane gas or blending gas with green hydrogen. This is a distraction from the more urgent need to quickly transition off of the fossil fuels that disproportionately harm environmental justice communities, and the existential imperative to shift rapidly towards 100% renewable energy.

“Put simply, carbon capture is a false solution and a distraction from genuine strategies through which to address the climate crisis and our continued reliance on fossil fuels. Often, carbon capture is used to extract more oil and produce synthetic CO2-emitting fuels. Ultimately, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities will be forced to endure the harms of this specious approach, including from the health and safety risks associated with the pipeline transportation and geological sequestration of carbon,” said Arif Ullah of South Bronx Unite. “The EPA has a critical role to play in protecting and prioritizing truly clean solutions that don’t make our most vulnerable communities sick, or take years off of our lives.”

Additionally, hydrogen poses risks from leaks, dangerous  NOx emissions, and will further exacerbate the climate crisis and air pollution.

“The administration should stop the narrative of relying on dirty fossil fuels, and our environmental justice communities should not continue to be sacrifice zones.  Instead, the truly equitable approach towards cleaning up the power sector should allow communities a right to their energy choices. These unproven technologies are water intensive and will unjustly burden communities with higher energy bills,” said Beto Lugo Martinez of CleanAirNow.

“Hydrogen produced with renewable energy through electrolysis, in limited cases such as energy storage, could support the transition to clean, renewable energy and in the fight against climate disaster,” said Manuel Salgado, environmental justice research analyst at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “The Biden administration needs to ensure that the utilization of hydrogen is not just another way for corporations to keep profiting while perpetuating the same harmful practices that disproportionately impact marginalized communities. The pursuit of a cleaner future cannot come at the expense of any community, especially not those who are already bearing the brunt of environmental injustice.”

“Equity and environmental justice must be at the heart of strong climate standards,” said Anastasia Gordon, energy and transportation manager at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “We hope that the EPA, in collaboration with relevant agencies, will continue robust outreach and engagement, as well as meaningfully address concerns and incorporate solutions from overburdened communities into a final rule to ensure that the Biden Administration honors its commitments to climate action and environmental justice.”

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Clean Air For The Long Haul, a nationwide coalition of environmental justice groups, coordinates federal rulemaking campaigns, centering overburdened communities, to reduce air pollution from power plants, cars, and trucks. The coalition seeks to catalyze the environmental justice movement through federal emissions reductions targeting United States power and transportation sectors. Coalition member organizations include: Alternatives for Community and Environment, Clear Air NOW, Coalition of Community Organizations, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Duwamish River Community Coalition, GreenDoor Initiative, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, South Bronx Unite, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, West End Revitalization Association, and Wisconsin Green Muslims.

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