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US utilities group opposes Biden plan to make gas power plants cleaner

Power plant emissions made up roughly one-quarter of the carbon emissions in the US last year. (Canva)

By Dharna Noor for the Guardian and Kristi Swartz for Floodlight

The main lobbying group for US electric utilities plans to oppose a Biden administration proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from existing gas power plants, raising questions about the industry’s commitment to reducing planet-heating pollution.

The pushback will put the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) out of step with many of its members’ stated commitments to cut emissions, critics say. It also runs counters to the US voters’ political views based on new polling shared exclusively with the Guardian and Floodlight.

The power plant rules, first proposed in May, would force power providers to clean up certain large coal- and gas-fired plants, either by installing new greener technologies or shutting the projects down. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking states and utilities to submit plans on how they choose to limit those emissions within 24 months of the rules’ final approval.

Public comments must be submitted by 8 August.

EEI is circulating a draft comment on the rule to its member groups which were described by first-hand sources to Craig Segall, vice-president of policy at Evergreen Action. The draft says EPA’s proposed transition timelines are too strict and that the technology it would require is difficult to install, Segall said.

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