Attorney General Bonta Supports EPA's Proposed Rule Regarding Fossil Fuel-Fired Power Plants

Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced joining a coalition of 20 attorneys general and six cities in filing a comment letter supporting a proposed rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) that would regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Fossil fuel-fired power plants — especially coal- and gas-fired plants — are one of the nation’s leading sources of GHG emissions. It was estimated that 25% percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2021 were attributable to this sector, second only to the transportation sector (28%). In the comment letter, the attorneys general underscore that the proposed rule is based on cost-effective and adequately demonstrated pollution control technologies, and would advance the states’ ongoing interest in addressing climate change. The attorneys general also recommend several ways that the proposed rule could be strengthened.

“Day in and day out, we are seeing the dangerous effects of climate change, with environmental justice communities bearing the brunt of the harm. No state — whether red or blue — is being spared,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I join my fellow attorneys general both in supporting the proposed rule, which would reduce 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions through 2042, and in urging EPA to achieve even greater emission reductions by adopting our recommendations.” 

 In the comment letter, the attorneys general:

  • Explain that the proposed rule is “within the four corners of the Supreme Court’s decision last year in West Virginia v. EPA” and consistent with Congress's ambitious actions to curb power plants' GHG emissions, including in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022. 
  • Support the proposed rule’s emission limits for new electrical generating units and its emission guidelines for existing units, which states must meet or exceed in stringency. 
  • Support the proposed rule’s repeal of the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which was promulgated under the Trump Administration, because it is inconsistent with Section 111 of the Clean Air Act and may result in an increase in GHG emissions from the power sector.
  • Recommend that EPA simplify the standards of performance for new gas-fired electrical generating units to support both carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and clean hydrogen, two types of pollution control strategies; broaden the proposed rule to regulate more existing gas-fired electrical generating units and secure more emission reductions from these power plants; and move up by two years (to January 1, 2038) the date on which coal-fired electrical generating units are categorized as long-term units, and thereby required to achieve an emission limit of 90% CCS.

In submitting the letter, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia as well as the chief legal officers of the City and County of Denver, and the Cities of Boulder (CO), Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.

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