April 17, 2023

EPA Offers Two Costly New Rules And White House Would Make It Easier To Issue Regulations

On April 3, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule that would increase restrictions for power plants under the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

Specifically, if the rule is finalized, the EPA would increase mercury controls a full 70 percent for power plants that use lignite coal. The proposed rule also would tighten limits for other pollutants — such as lead, nickel, and arsenic — by 67 percent. If finalized, the new standards will be the first change to the rules in more than a decade.

A week later, the EPA issued another proposed rule that, if finalized, also could likely increase costs for both manufacturers and consumers. As The Washington Post reported, under the plan automakers would have to cut emissions for the passenger cars and pickups they sell in model year 2032 by more than half from 2026 emissions level. The proposed rules also would restrict emissions from heavy duty trucks. Together these two potential new regulations represent the most aggressive emissions restrictions on the auto industry in U.S. history and would require complete overhauls of vehicle factories and supply chains causing a years-long process. Read more here.

While the proposed auto emissions rule does not explicitly mandate a shift to electric vehicles (EVs),the EPA estimates that the new the limits on greenhouse gas emissions, if finalized, would essentially require that EVs account for at least 60 percent of passenger vehicle sales in 2030 and up to 67 percent by 2032. For context, The Associated Press has estimated meeting those levels would require nearly a tenfold increase over current EV sales. The EPA will accept public comments for 60 days and will hold a public hearing on the proposed standards on May 9, 10, and 11, if necessary.

In related news: as The Hill reported, the White House released an executive order that effectively reduces the number of regulations that will need undergo a more rigorous White House review and new draft guidance that changes how agencies must calculate the cost and benefits of such rules.

Billy Pizer, vice president for research and policy engagement at Resources for the Future, an energy and environment focused research organization, told The Hill the changes represent a “pretty major overhaul” that could lead to more regulation of industry. Read more here.

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