What EJ leaders want from EPA’s gas rule do-over

By Jean Chemnick | 03/08/2024 06:43 AM EST

Hard-hit pollution areas will get a second chance to shape EPA’s climate rule on existing gas plants.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan, center, talks with environmental justice advocates in St. James Parish, La., in 2021.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan (center) talks with environmental justice advocates in St. James Parish, Louisiana, in 2021. Gerald Herbert/AP

EPA pulled a provision to regulate today’s natural gas power plants for climate pollution last week in part to give communities suffering the most from climate change a bigger say in the rule.

But advocates for those front-line communities say they’re still assessing what they want from EPA’s gas plant redo — which is expected to target not only carbon but locally harmful pollutants like nitrogen oxides.

“There’s not a silver bullet that we have in our back pocket,” said Ana Baptista, co-director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School.


EPA’s decision to delay regulating some of the nation’s biggest natural gas plants for greenhouse gases comes as it prepares to move forward with a final climate rule for coal-fired power and new gas plants. The agency’s decision to remove existing gas plants from the regulation means that a large segment of the power sector — accounting for more than 40 percent of U.S. electricity — won’t be required to reduce carbon emissions until sometime in the future.