Citing energy supply risks, Florida pushes back on Biden Administration power plant emissions standards

by | Aug 9, 2023

  • Florida DEP filed comments opposing the Biden Administration’s proposed power plant emissions standards, citing energy supply risks.
  • Florida is also questioning the transition to net-zero, arguing for electricity needs prioritization.
  • DEP’s comments highlight the lack of “green hydrogen” infrastructure, as well as significant legal concerns
  • Meanwhile, proponents say the Biden Administration’s standards carry significant health and environmental benefits.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) voiced strong opposition this week to the Biden Administration proposal to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants. Echoing the concerns of 39 GOP Senators and state utility operators, DEP asserted that the rule could compromise the “reliability, affordability, and capacity of the nation’s energy supply.”

In formal comments sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DEP called for the proposal to be discarded.

“Florida’s superior air quality is a result of ingenuity and smart governance,” the comments, signed by DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton, said. “The proposed rules place states like ours at heightened risk by pressing for unproven transitional energy practices without the necessary energy capacity to serve our residents, businesses, and tourists.”

Though the EPA’s initiative is primarily focused on the transition to a “net-zero world,” Florida contends that this approach places environmental aspirations above the nation’s electricity needs.

Florida isn’t alone in the pushback. Thirty-nine Republican senators penned a letter to the EPA, contending that the carbon capture and clean hydrogen technologies underpinning the rule are still in their infancy and haven’t been conclusively demonstrated on a large scale.

Another area of concern for Florida is the potential reliance on green hydrogen. While the EPA is pushing for a shift towards this cleaner technology, Florida says the lack of infrastructure in the state for large-scale hydrogen production, storage, and distribution will cripple the state’s ability to produce power.

“Florida has no significant hydrogen facilities at this time,” stated the department. They also expressed reservations about the feasibility of supplying the vast quantities of hydrogen required for the power sector, noting that the EPA’s optimistic visions for a hydrogen-centered economy might drive energy providers to limit electrical generation at some facilities, thus leading to higher costs for consumers and potential reliability issues.

DEP also raised legal concerns, asserting that the EPA’s proposed rules violate the Administrative Procedure Act. They argued the EPA’s approach is “arbitrary, capricious, and oversteps the bounds of the authority granted to the agency by Congress.”

Despite the resistance from Florida and similar objections from various state and national utility-industry groups, proponents like the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy champion the rules. They view these carbon reduction measures as long overdue and necessary to combat significant health and environmental threats posed by carbon pollution.

The EPA’s proposal, released in May, intends to set new standards for power plants operating on coal and natural gas, with incentives promoting green hydrogen technology. Administrator Michael Regan is digging in, reaffirming the EPA’s commitment, stating the proposal is grounded in “proven, cost-effective technologies” aiming for a cleaner future and safeguarding public health.


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