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Congressman says Biden puts ‘America’s energy security last’

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(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden, says a North Carolina congressman, is putting “America’s energy security last.”

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., commented after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s four rules on fossil fuel-fired power plants was announced. The new standards, observers say, will crush the coal industry and be significantly detrimental to the natural gas industry.

On social media, Hudson wrote, “In yet another attempt to enforce its far-left climate agenda, Biden’s EPA is pushing new burdensome rules that’ll shut down power plants, weaken our electric grid and hike up costs. The Biden administration continues to put America’s energy security last.”

Between the $891 billion Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the new power plant rules, there is a projected 75% reduction below 2005 levels in carbon pollution by 2035. The mandate is 90% reduction long term.

Goldsboro native Michael Regan, administrator of the EPA and former leader of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, said in a statement, “By developing these standards in a clear, transparent, inclusive manner, EPA is cutting pollution while ensuring that power companies can make smart investments and continue to deliver reliable electricity for all Americans.”

The new rules target reduction in mercury and toxic air pollutants, wastewater cleanup, and coal ash discharges. Coal-fired plants would have to capture emissions from smokestacks or shut down.

Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a rule from the Obama administration that was a shift away from coal. Legal challenges are certainly possible again.

Jim Matheson said the changes are “unlawful, unrealistic and unachievable.” He’s CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The president and CEO of the Edison Electric Institute, Dan Brouillette, said full-scale, economy-wide deployment of carbon capture and storage is not yet ready for implementation.

Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte with about 7.7 million customers in six states, has coal units on a schedule to be retired by 2036. It has a request in to the North Carolina Utilities Commission to approve adding 10 new natural gas units by 2035. In a report last week, it said carbon emissions from electric generation are down 48% from 2005 levels.

Michelle Carter, director of clean energy campaigns for the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement, “These rules make it clear that burning fossil fuels threatens our health and our climate, so we must transition to cleaner energy sources. In light of these new rules, Duke Energy’s plan to build record amounts of expensive, dirty gas plants makes absolutely no sense – except when you consider Duke’s highly paid executives and record profits.”

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, North Carolina is top five in the nation producing electricity from nuclear power. Natural gas in 2022 accounted for 43% of total electricity generation, same percentage as the nation, with nuclear second at 32%. Coal-fired plants were providing about 11%.

Renewable sources, in 2022, produced about 14% of the total electricity in the state, the EIA report says.

North Carolina is the nation’s ninth largest in population, and top 10 in electricity production.

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