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      EPA announces new rules to get carbon out of electricity production

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 May, 2023 - 20:00 · 1 minute

    Images of smoke stacks and cooling towards.

    Enlarge / Natural gas plants like these may find themselves burning hydrogen over the next 20 years. (credit: Ron and Patty Thomas )

    Today, the Biden administration formally announced its planned rules for limiting carbon emissions from the electrical grid. The rules will largely take effect in the 2030s and apply to gas- and coal-fired generating plants. Should the new plan go into effect, the operators of those plants will either need to capture carbon or replace a large fraction of their fuel with hydrogen. The rules will likely hasten coal's disappearance from the US grid and start pushing natural gas turbines to a supplemental source of power.

    Whether they go into effect will largely depend on legal maneuvering and the results of future elections. But first, the rules themselves.

    Clearing the air

    Back in 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act applied to greenhouse gas emissions . This allows the EPA to set state-level standards to limit the release of greenhouse gasses, with the states given some leeway on how they reach those standards. Since then, the court has clarified that these standards must be met on a per-plant basis rather than at the grid level; the EPA can't set rules that assume that the grid has more generation from solar and less from coal plants.

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      A look at all of Biden’s changes to energy and environmental regulations

      John Timmer · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 00:58 · 1 minute

    Image of a man seated at a desk with a woman standing behind him.

    Enlarge / U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, looking on. (credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images )

    The series of executive orders signed by Joe Biden on his first evening in office included a heavy focus on environmental regulations. Some of the high profile actions had been signaled in advance—we're back in the Paris Agreement! The Keystone pipeline's been put on indefinite hold!

    But the suite of executive orders includes a long list that targets plenty of the changes Trump made in energy and environmental policies, many of which will have more subtle but significant effects of how the United States does business. Many of those make major changes, in some cases by eliminating policies adopted during the Trump years, a number of which we covered at the time. So, we've attempted to take a comprehensive look at Biden's actions and their potential impacts.

    Laws, rules, and policies

    Environmental and energy regulations are set through three main mechanisms. The first is by specific laws, which would require the cooperation of both houses of Congress to change. Next are also more general laws, like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. These enable regulations to be put in place via a formal rule-making process run by the agencies of the executive branch. This process involves soliciting public feedback, incorporating economic considerations, and so on, a process that typically takes anywhere from eight months to over a year. Finally, the executive branch can set policies to cover details not spelled out by the law or the rule, such as how to handle things like deadlines and enforcement details.

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