What EPA’s power plant rule lacks: A nickname

By Kevin Bogardus, Robin Bravender | 05/11/2023 04:22 PM EDT

“Traditional approach, traditional name,” EPA’s press office wrote on Twitter. 

EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan speaks Thursday about new proposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants during an event at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. AP Photo/Nathan Howard

EPA gave catchy nicknames to its last two versions of climate rules for power plants.

Not this time.

The Biden EPA on Thursday rolled out draft rules to limit power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions.


The title is epic: “New Source Performance Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Fossil Fuel-Fired Electric Generating Units; Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Fossil Fuel-Fired Electric Generating Units; and Repeal of the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.”

When the Obama administration rolled out its version of the power plant limits, it was dubbed the Clean Power Plan. The Trump administration called its version the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.

Both of those were knocked down by courts, but the Biden administration says it’s confident this version will hold up to legal scrutiny.

“Traditional approach, traditional name,” EPA’s press office wrote on Twitter in response to POLITICO reporter Alex Guillén’s tweet about the Biden administration rolling out its version without a nickname.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the new rules at an event Thursday at the University of Maryland, College Park. Asked whether EPA has a nickname for them, he told reporters, “I’m sure the staff do. I don’t. I’m always the last to know these things.”

While EPA may not have provided a shorthand for the proposal yet, Republican lawmakers already have. They have associated the proposal with the Obama-era effort to curb power plants’ carbon emissions.

At a hearing with Regan on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) called it “EPA’s new Clean Power Plan rulemaking,” noting the Supreme Court rejected the original rule as part of its West Virginia v. EPA decision.

Others had similar wordplay for the new rules and cited the high court’s ruling last summer.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) described the proposal as “this latest version of Democrats’ so-called ‘Clean Power Plan'” in a statement Thursday.

Also, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, called it “the Clean Power Plan 2.0.”

And Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said it was “the Biden administration’s revival of the Clean Power Plan.”

Regan on Thursday called this proposal “a completely separate rule from the Clean Power Plan” issued during the Obama administration.

“This rule is well within the bounds of our statutory authority and the West Virginia Supreme Court decision,” he said, adding, “We feel really good that we’re using the Clean Air Act’s traditional authority.”