Nat Keohane on EPA proposed power plant standards

Statement of Nathaniel Keohane
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

May 11, 2023

On the standards proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal- and new gas-fired electric generating units:

“The EPA’s proposed power plant carbon pollution standards announced today will protect Americans’ health and provide enormous economic benefits, by accelerating the reduction of harmful climate pollution from coal- and natural gas-fired electric power plants. With the power sector one of the largest sources of climate pollution in the United States, and with electricity demand set to grow as more cars, buildings, and factories are connected to the grid, it is all the more important that we drive greenhouse gas emissions from electric power generation toward zero. These standards, along with the bipartisan infrastructure law of 2021, last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, and the recently announced vehicle standards proposal, represent crucial steps toward our nation’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, while delivering a thriving, just, and resilient economy for all.

“The clean air standards proposed today not only represent EPA’s statutory duty under the law to protect the public health and welfare; they also provide an important complement to the laws already on the books. Thanks to the IRA’s historic climate provisions, clean energy technologies like carbon capture and sequestration and clean hydrogen—which are available now—are poised to scale dramatically while coming down in cost. The proposed standards will ensure that power plants deploy those technologies to cut pollution.

“What’s more, these standards are a no-brainer from an economic perspective. Estimates based on the latest climate science suggest that the net benefits from this proposed rule—in the form of longer lives, better health, and a stronger economy—will range from $64 to $85 billion. EPA is also rightly proposing to allow states flexibility in implementing the standards, including the use of approaches like trading and averaging, which can allow states to achieve the same emissions cuts even more cost-effectively.

“Already, the power sector has reduced emissions by over 35 percent since 2005, and many power companies have committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. What businesses need most is regulatory clarity and certainty, so that they can make the investments in clean energy technology to meet those commitments and strengthen them further. C2ES looks forward to working with power companies and the EPA to develop a final rule that is simultaneously strong, flexible, and durable—and that meets the urgency of the climate crisis.”

To reach a C2ES expert, contact Alec Gerlach at

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) works to secure a safe and stable climate, by accelerating the global transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and a thriving, just, and resilient economy. Learn more at