While the focus in Washington remains on the overtime negotiations for the Build Back Better Act, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan is methodically moving forward on key climate action.
It’s not exactly a climate action Plan B, since actions like tougher methane emission controls and the clean car rule are necessary in their own right. However, it is an important reminder that not all forward progress on climate has been put on hold pending congressional action.
Last week, Regan told the Washington Post the EPA will issue a strong greenhouse gas rule for power plants, a stringent methane rule for oil and gas infrastructure, and sweeping emissions standards for new vehicles, regardless of the timing of congressional action. Regan said, “EPA is already aggressively using its rulemaking authority to deliver the types of emission reductions that we need to protect people from climate pollution.”
He added the EPA is carefully crafting its new Clean Power Plan rule in a way the Supreme Court will uphold. He noted both the Obama and Trump Administrations attempted to implement rules which stumbled under court challenges, and that the current effort can benefit from reviewing the problems courts found with those rules.
Among Regan’s team working on the rule is North Carolina’s Tim Profeta, founding director of the Duke University Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Profeta recently took a sabbatical from that post to join EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards as special counsel for the power sector.
Environmental advocates like the Southern Environmental Law Center agree the EPA’s rulemaking, if done well, can have a powerful impact in cutting carbon emissions.
But executive action alone is not enough. With the clock ticking and the climate crisis worsening by the day, tell your members of Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act now!