"EPA has finalized a rule that leaves untouched an Obama-era requirement that new coal plants partially capture their carbon dioxide emissions — walking away from its proposal more than two years ago to scrap that mandate in favor of laxer standards.
Instead, the rule, which was posted on the Federal Register website this morning and will be published officially tomorrow, seeks to erect fresh barriers to a future administration's promulgating rules for sectors like oil refineries or steel manufacturing under a key section of the Clean Air Act.
EPA's gambit, played eight days before the start of the Biden administration, classifies any industrial sector as not a significant contributor of a greenhouse gas pollutant unless it is responsible for fully 3% of total U.S. emissions.
"This means that if a source category collectively emits 3% or less of the total U.S. GHG emissions, it will be considered to be insignificant," asserts EPA in the rule. It goes on to propose a process for the agency to determine whether even sectors that emit more than 3% of U.S. emissions are significant contributors."