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Massive Utility Trade Group Reportedly Taking Biden Admin To Court Over Green Power Plant Rules

A massive trade group for utility companies is reportedly poised to sue the Biden administration over one of its most ambitious climate policies, according to E&E News.

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) — a trade group that represents all investor-owned utility companies in the U.S. — will soon file a legal challenge against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently-finalized regulations for power plants, according to E&E News, which cited four unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter. The trade association did not sue the Obama administration when it promulgated its similar and since-overruled Clean Power Plan, but it is now taking a more confrontational posture to battle the Biden administration’s power plant rules.

The EPA finalized the regulations in question in April; the rules effectively require existing coal-fired plants and new natural gas plants to use costly carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to control 90% of emissions by 2032 if plant operators want to keep the covered facilities online past 2039, according to the agency. EEI reportedly plans to angle its lawsuit around the EPA’s reliance on CCS to meet emissions reductions targets, according to E&E News.

Critics of the EPA’s power plant regulations — a group that includes some Biden administration officials — have pointed out that CCS is not close to ready to play the major role in the U.S. power grid that the agency envisions. Technologically, CCS is still in its early stages and not yet energy efficient, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, while other challenges, such as a major permitting backlog, persist.

“While we appreciate and support EPA’s work to develop a clear, continued path for the transition to cleaner resources, we are disappointed that the agency did not address the concerns we raised about carbon capture and storage,” EEI President and CEO Dan Brouillette said of the final regulations when they were made public in late April. “CCS is not yet ready for full-scale, economy-wide deployment, nor is there sufficient time to permit, finance, and build the CCS infrastructure needed for compliance by 2032.”

EEI officials reportedly made the decision to sue on Thursday, but the organization has yet to formally announce that it is taking the federal government to court. More than two dozen Republican state attorneys general have already filed their own lawsuit against the rules.

The administration has hailed the rules as a major step toward decarbonizing the American power grid and wider economy in the coming decades, both of which are key goals of the Biden administration’s sweeping climate agenda. The agency has expressed confidence that the rules will be able to withstand incoming legal challenges and will not impact grid reliability when enacted, but power grid experts previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the new policies are probably beyond the agency’s statutory authority and also likely to diminish grid reliability in the long-term.

EPA declined to comment, citing its policy of not weighing in on pending litigation.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from EEI.

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