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Politico: Biden rule tells power plants to cut CO2 by 90% — or shut down

The Biden administration is announcing a climate rule that would require most fossil fuel power plants to slash their greenhouse gas pollution 90 percent between 2035 and 2040 — or shut down.

The highly anticipated regulation being unveiled Thursday morning is just the latest step in President Joe Biden’s campaign to green the U.S. economy, an effort that has brought a counterattack from Republicans and coal-state Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. That’s on top of efforts by Biden’s agencies to promote the use of electric cars, subsidize green energy sources like solar and wind and tighten regulations on products including gas stoves and dishwashers.

The draft power plant rule from the Environmental Protection Agency would break new ground by requiring steep pollution cuts from plants burning coal or natural gas, which together provide the lion’s share of the nation’s electricity. To justify the size of those cuts, the agency says fossil fuel plants could capture their greenhouse gas emissions before they hit the atmosphere — a long-debated technology that no power plant in the U.S. uses now.

As an alternative, utilities could hasten their decisions to shut down their aging coal plants, a trend that has already gathered speed in the past two decades. The rule allows plants that agree to close in the first half of the 2030s to avoid most or all of the pollution-reduction mandates.

Expanding carbon capture technology on the scale EPA is envisioning would require dramatically ramping up a nascent industry and constructing potentially thousands of miles of pipelines to carry the gas to underground storage sites.

“The public health and environmental benefits of this proposed rule will be tremendous,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said during a briefing on the rule Wednesday. He added, “We have more than enough reason to be optimistic about what’s possible for the future of our nation.”