Wyo. is angry with the EPA

Recently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its Clean Power Plan 2.0 regulations, including issuing a suite of final rules that would cut down on coal production. Wyoming leaders and lawmakers reacted strongly to the new rules, expressing their anger and their intent to fight against the regulations.

On April 25, the EPA released the final rules, explaining in a press release that the purpose of the new regulations is to "reduce pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants in order to protect all communities from pollution and improve public health without disrupting the delivery of reliable electricity."

The new plan from the EPA would repeal the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy Rule and enact new standards on new and modified fossil-fuel power generation sources (including natural gas) and existing fossil-fuel power generation sources (including coal and gas plants).

One of the rules states that existing coal-fired power plants that plan to be in operation beyond 2040 must sequester 90% of their carbon emissions. According to a press release from the office of Governor Mark Gordon, these rules mean that Wyoming coal fired units are given three choices. They either have to shut down by January 2032; convert to natural gas co-firing by 2030, with a forced shutdown by January 1, 2039; or install C02 capture facilities by 2032.

"It is clear the only goal envisioned by these rules released by the Environmental Protection Agency today is the end of coal communities in Wyoming," Governor Gordon said in a statement released April 25. "EPA has weaponized the fear of climate change into a crushing set of rules that will result in an unreliable electric grid, unaffordable electricity, and thousands of lost jobs. This Administration has turned its back on the very industries and states that have made our country strong."

Governor Gordon called the rule a "travesty" and "environmental extortion," saying that their effects could be "devastating."

"These rules will not only significantly increase the cost of dispatchable electricity, they seriously threaten the reliability of the electric grid and endanger the domestic economy and security," Gordon said.

The governor also expressed his determination to challenge the rules in court.

Other Wyoming representatives at the state and national level also issued statements responding to and lambasting the EPA announcement.

"What the EPA conveniently ignored when announcing its latest attack on America's legacy industries is how these shortsighted rules will devastate reliable and affordable energy and deepen the energy poverty crisis in our nation," Rep. Harriet Hageman said. "I am both appalled and unsurprised that the Biden Administration continues to vilify our reliable energy producers and I call on the EPA to immediately rescind these destructive rules that benefit radical climate activists at the expense of the American people."

"President Biden's Green New Deal inspired rules appear designed to force the closure of Wyoming power plants with no plan to replace the energy currently being produced," said Sen. Lummis (R-WY). "This attack on Wyoming energy undermines our way of life by jeopardizing jobs and revenue for our state and local governments. Forcing the closure of gas and coal-fired plants that account for 60% of electricity generated across the country, while increasing demand by 30% through an electric vehicle mandate is not only unrealistic but dangerous. I will be working with my colleagues to overturn this disastrous set of regulations and protect Wyoming energy workers who power this country."

"This onslaught of overreaching and outrageous climate rules will shut down power plants and increase energy costs for families across the country," Sen. John Barrasso said. "Americans deserve clean air, clear rules and reliable electricity. Punishing regulations make this impossible. Republicans will work to stop them and fight for solutions that protect our air and water and allow our economy to grow."

"The EPA's new rules are a deliberate attack on Wyoming's fossil fuel economy and the small businesses dependent on Wyoming coal and natural gas," Secretary Gray said in a statement. "In the strongest possible terms, I condemn the EPA's final rules and the weaponization of the federal government against our state and our small businesses in the name of the radical climate cult agenda."

The Wyoming Mining Association also weighed in on the EPA's new rules, expressing frustration and concern over the effects the rules could have.

WMA Executive Director Travis Deti called the plan "ill-intentioned and legally questionable," and said the announcement was "a real belly kick to Wyoming." Deti noted that Wyoming is the nation's leading coal producer, and a drop in production would mean a loss of jobs and revenue.

"This effort from the Biden Administration is like hunting a unicorn, which doesn't really exist, without any regard for what might be trampled during the pursuit," Deti said. "The new EPA rules will do irreparable harm and constitute a clear and real threat to our state."

 

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