Washington (December 6, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force and member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, expressed frustration at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to redefine standards for greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. The new proposal would allow newly built coal plants emit 36 percent more carbon dioxide for each megawatt-hour of output than the rule put forward by the Obama administration in 2015. 


Also buried in the EPA’s proposal is a solicitation of comments on whether or not greenhouse gas emissions from power plants contribute significantly to climate change. This proposed rule also directly challenges the second half of the endangerment finding, the result of the landmark Supreme Court decision on Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007 that requires regulation of carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. In 2017, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said that he would “enforce and respect” the EPA’s endangerment finding and affirmed that the Supreme Court’s decision is the “law of the land.”


“This roll-back is yet another giveaway to the coal industry at the expense of our climate and health,” said Senator Markey. “Relaxing these standards could lead to the construction of more coal-fired power plants, and that would be a disaster for our environment and for the planet. Attempting to boost the prospects of a flatlining coal industry would only boost harmful emissions and incidents of asthma and other illness.


“This EPA reversal also contains a dangerous attempt to gut the endangerment finding on climate emissions, the bedrock court decision that makes it possible for the federal government to act on climate. It is crystal clear that the only action the Trump administration wants to take on climate change is to deny its existence. Any regulations based on facts cannot deny that emissions from power plants are a significant contributor to climate change. This proposed attack on our climate emission regulations cannot stand and will not hold up in court.”