The state of America’s electric grid is growing more perilous each day. Legacy power plants are rapidly retiring while power demand is projected to rise at historic rates, driven by artificial intelligence and data centers, manufacturing and President Biden’s efforts to force electrification of the economy, including the cars and trucks we drive. If we continue on our current course, energy demand in the U.S. will exceed supply in just a few years.

Grid operators, including PJM, the nation’s largest, began sounding the alarm more than a year ago. Despite these warnings, the Biden administration has proceeded to finalize a barrage of the most damaging regulations ever levied on our nation’s power producers, including the “Clean Power Plan 2.0,” a new set of stringent rules targeting power plant emissions.

The rule requires adoption of unproven technology to meet unachievable emissions limits on an unworkable timeline. The Clean Power Plan 2.0 also violates the Clean Air Act and Supreme Court decisions such as West Virginia v. EPA.

In the Clean Power Plan 2.0, the EPA requires existing coal-fired power plants and new baseload natural gas-fired power plants to eliminate virtually all carbon emissions by 2032. If a plant cannot comply with these unachievable requirements, it must shut down. Plants will be required to install carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment, which has yet to be successfully deployed anywhere in the U.S. at a commercial scale at the 90 percent capture rate required by the EPA. And then all of that captured carbon will need to be moved by pipeline for use or storage elsewhere.

Since the EPA first proposed the rule last year, the Clean Power Plan 2.0 has been met with widespread criticism. Even experts within the Biden administration described it as shortsighted and devastating to electric reliability. Power generators and nonpartisan grid operators have testified before Congress that the less than eight-year timeline to comply with the rule will force generators to retire their facilities prematurely, and without replacement, the grid will lack dispatchable resources necessary to keep the lights on.

Unfortunately, Biden has ignored this reality and chosen to finalize the rule, which is clearly designed to close down the power plants that currently provide 60 percent of America’s electricity.

While renewables can and will continue to play an important role in our energy mix, their weather-dependent nature means that we will continue to need reliable, dispatchable energy to ensure grid reliability for years to come. 

It’s also clear that the EPA’s assumption that operators will be able to design, permit, construct and bring into service a national network of carbon dioxide pipelines in less than a decade is not realistic. Recent experience in West Virginia is a sobering reminder that it took an act of Congress to bring just one natural gas pipeline into service. 

Simply put, the Clean Power Plan 2.0 will ultimately result in blackouts and brownouts, higher electricity rates for our constituents, and uncertainty for American businesses and manufacturers. Forcing our reliable baseload power into early retirement while electricity demand is growing at its highest rate in over 30 years is a recipe for disaster. Instead of proposing a workable solution that allows grid operators the full suite of resources they need to provide reliable, affordable electricity, the administration is actually cracking down on the power plants that make up the backbone of our grid.

That’s exactly why we are leading efforts in the House and Senate to block the EPA’s Clean Power Plan 2.0 by introducing a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. Congress had to use the Congressional Review Act to condemn the first Clean Power Plan on a bipartisan basis back in 2015, only to have President Obama veto that attempt. Ultimately the Supreme Court stepped in and held the rule was illegal. President Biden has chosen to repeat history and force congressional action — and likely action by the courts — yet again.

Rather than repeat mistakes that stifle innovation and threaten our energy reliability and affordability, there is another option. We can be successful in boosting American energy and protecting our environment. Our diverse domestic energy supply chain, thanks in large part to innovations in the energy sector, including natural gas, has helped the U.S. lead the world in decarbonization.

To maximize energy security and keep our grid reliable and affordable for families and businesses, we must use every resource at our disposal and avoid election year policies that favor certain energy sources over others.

Shelley Moore Capito is the junior senator from West Virginia and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Troy Balderson represents Ohio’s 12th District and is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.