In a surprise move, the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday will unveil a climate rule that will effectively prohibit the future regulation of greenhouse gases from any stationary industry other than power plants.
The rule comes just eight days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has pledged a multitrillion-dollar initiative that would combat climate change by making sharp cuts in the United States’ carbon dioxide pollution. The new regulation could hamstring much of that agenda, for example by prohibiting Biden’s EPA from setting carbon limits on oil and gas wells or refineries.
The vehicle for the latest EPA action was also surprising: The agency included it in a long-planned Trump administration regulation that had originally been aimed at a much narrower target — easing greenhouse gas limits for coal plants that might be built in the future. It never sought public comment on the proposal to exempt a wide swath of industries from carbon restrictions.