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Updated May 9, 2024

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EPA Cracks Down on Power Plant Emissions


Jody Freeman

Professor of Law and Founding Director, Harvard Law School Environmental & Energy Law Program

In April, the Environmental Protection Agency passed four new rules to reduce pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

One of the new rules requires many new gas and existing coal power plants to control 90 percent of their carbon pollution if they plan to operate beyond 2039. The other three rules specifically target coal, requiring the industry to clean up various parts of the value chain including toxic metal emissions from power generation, wastewater pollution, and coal ash management.

And while the Biden Administration and other proponents consider the new rules a step in the right direction, opponents argue they will undermine the reliability of energy systems.   

So, how will the EPA’s new regulations impact the energy industry? What makes these standards different from previous attempts to regulate energy emissions? And how might opponents try to overturn them?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Jody Freeman about the technicalities of the new EPA power plant rules, and the legal avenues opponents might pursue to overturn them.

Jody is the Archibald Cox professor of law and the founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental & Energy Law Program. From 2009-2010, she served as a counselor for energy and climate change in the Obama White House. Jody has also previously served on the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute and as an independent director of ConocoPhillips.


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