Select language:

Earthjustice Applauds EPA for Historic Suite of Safeguards from Power Plant Pollution


Standards will tackle major sources of climate pollution and protect public health


Alexandria Trimble,

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a suite of standards to address pollution from fossil-fueled power plants.  

Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen issued the following statement in response:  

“Today marks a milestone achievement reflecting years of work — inside and outside of government — to clean up our power system to protect all Americans, now and for the future.  

“We applaud the Biden administration for taking historic action to protect public health and advance climate progress. Coal and gas plants are among the worst contributors to climate change and toxic air and water pollution. The new standards announced today will dramatically reduce climate pollution while ensuring millions of people will have cleaner, safer air and water. 

“EPA’s integrated approach to cleaning up power plant pollution will also drive better planning and smarter choices by the energy industry. This is a pivotal moment and these standards, complemented by historic federal investments in clean infrastructure, will help guide defining decisions for our future. 

“We also know that there is more work ahead. We look forward to working with the Biden administration to build on these standards and make good on the President’s climate, health and environmental justice commitments. Tackling pollution from existing gas-fired power plants is the essential next step.” 


In a historic day of action, the Biden administration finalized a suite of key power plant rules.  

  • Clean Air Act sections 111(b) and 111(d): The 111(b) rule limits carbon pollution from newpower plants that run on fossil gas. The 111(d) rule finalized today sets the first ever carbon emissions guidelines for existing coal plants, and EPA has committed to take a comprehensive approach to cover the entire fleet of gas-fired power plants, including climate, toxic and criteria air pollution.  
  • Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS): These health-protective standards establish limits on toxic air emissions from coal- and oil-burning power plants, including stricter pollution limits for particulate matter and mercury, as well as the elimination of a regulatory loophole that facilities used to exceed emission limits. 
  • Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR): This rule extends federal monitoring and cleanup requirements to hundreds of older coal ash landfills and ponds across the country that have been leaking toxic pollution into groundwater. The new rule addresses gaps in the 2015 Coal Ash Rule that allowed coal plants to avoid cleaning up toxic coal ash across the country.  
  • Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs): These updated wastewater treatment standards for coal-fired power plants require substantial reductions in the amount of toxic wastewater containing arsenic, mercury, and other pollutants released into U.S. waterways. 

Earthjustice will continue to work with our clients and partners to ensure strong implementation of these rules, both to clean up legacy pollution and accelerate our transition to 100% pollution-free, clean energy. 

A coal ash pond full of dead trees lies adjacent to Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station in Dukeville, N.C., in 2016.
A coal ash pond full of dead trees lies adjacent to Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station in Dukeville, N.C., in 2016. (Chuck Burton / AP)

Additional Resources

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.