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Commentary: Biden’s Clean Power Plan 2.0 Threatens U.S. Energy Reliability and Innovation

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Commentary by Heather Reams originally published by RealClearEnergy and RealClearWire

Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has reduced emissions by more than those of the next five countries combined. The federal government should build on this success and empower U.S. energy producers to deploy the next generation of clean-energy technologies—not slow the progress we’ve made with arbitrary deadlines and unnecessary obstacles.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals recently hosted a hearing titled, “Clean Power Plan 2.0: EPA’s Latest Attack on America’s Electric Reliability.” The hearing examined a recently proposed rule by the Biden Administration that imposes impractical mandates on powerplants across the U.S. to capture and sequester carbon.

The hearing, led by Subcommittee Chairman Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), focused on concerns shared by members of the committee and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) alike: many powerplants driven by American coal and natural gas would face closure under this rule, threatening the resilience and reliability of our electric grid, jeopardizing American clean-energy innovation, and resulting in increased electricity prices and greater reliance on foreign sources of dirtier energy.

Under the Administration’s proposal, spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. powerplants would be required to adopt carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy or be forced to shut down. American coal plants must commit either to retirement or to cutting back to 20% of maximum capacity by 2032. They are given the option to extend their retirement date to 2040 if they can co-fire with 40% natural gas. Natural gas powerplants are being offered a lifeline, but only if they begin co-firing with hydrogen and ramp up their use of hydrogen content to 96% by 2038.

The EPA recognizes in its proposal that the U.S. power sector continues to make substantial progress toward a clean-energy future, cutting carbon emissions by 36% since 2005. But what the EPA fails to acknowledge is how the rush to implement this rule would redirect valuable resources and likely stymie the very innovation needed for CCS and hydrogen technologies to develop as economically viable solutions. It also ignores other stubborn facts: the infrastructure needed to implement CCS or enable the large-scale production and transportation of hydrogen is not available today, and replacing fossil-fueled powerplants with renewables requires more electric transmission lines. Under current federal permitting processes, these critical improvements may remain out of reach for at least a decade.

As an advocate for emissions reductions, CRES recognizes the value of policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but the execution of this plan would be riddled with obstacles.

Communities across the U.S., most notably in California and Texas, are already experiencing more blackouts and grid vulnerabilities. In fact, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation projects that two-thirds of North America faces elevated risk of power shortages and forced blackouts this summer. The U.S. is home to the world’s brightest innovative minds, an abundance of energy resources, and some of the most stringent environmental protection laws. There is no reason that we should be faced with threats of energy insecurity.

Republicans understand that piling on more federal regulations is not what produces U.S. innovation, energy security, and lower emissions. Instead of imposing mandatory emissions requirements, as the Biden Administration would do with this proposed rule, we should continue to empower private companies to develop and embrace American technologies that capture carbon while maintaining jobs in local communities, strengthening our electric grid, and contributing as a global leader in emissions reductions.

Rather than imposing the Clean Power Plan 2.0’s unrealistic timeframes on energy producers, CRES urges the Biden Administration to focus on a commonsense approach to energy strategy: working with our natural gas producers to provide affordable and clean baseload energy to families and businesses across the country; speeding up permitting of clean-energy projects and transmission capabilities to strengthen our electric grid; and empowering Americans to develop the next generation of clean-energy technologies—hydrogen, carbon capture, nuclear power—that will continue to lower emissions for U.S. power generation and manufacturing.

Americans deserve reliable, affordable, and clean homegrown energy. The Biden Administration’s “rush-to-green” agenda is not helping our environment or our economy. Republicans understand how responsible domestic energy development can do both.
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Heather Reams is the president of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES).

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with CloutHub.com, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a BlazeTV.com host, Outreach Director with FreedomWorks.org overseeing its Empower.org outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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