EPA Proposed Rule on Carbon Emissions

June 4, 2014

pic-energy-powerOn June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources for Electric Utility Generating Units.” The proposed rule, which is part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Change Action Plan and the June 2013 Presidential Memorandum, would cut carbon emissions from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S.

The Clean Power Plan would require a 25 percent reduction of carbon emissions from the power sector by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. The regulation — the first-ever national limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants — would provide states and regions with flexibility to meet the standards using a variety of compliance methods. With the Clean Power Plan, the EPA is proposing guidelines that build on trends already underway in states and the power sector to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, making them more efficient and less polluting.

The proposed regulation would require that states implement plans to achieve the cut of 30 percent on average in emissions. Under the proposed regulation, each state would be subject to a different emissions reduction goal based on its current electricity mix and would be able to pitch its own compliance plans, which EPA then would approve. States would choose from a menu of options to meet the standard, including efficiency measures, renewable fuel programs and regional cap and trade systems.

Also included in the proposal is a flexible timeline for states to follow for submitting plans to the agency, with a deadline of June 2016, but giving states the option to use a two-step process for submitting final plans if more time is needed. States that have already invested in energy efficiency programs will be able to build on these programs during the compliance period to help make progress toward meeting their goal.

The agency will accept public comment on the proposal for 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register and will convene four meetings across the country in late July to gather public input ahead of finalizing the plan in June 2015.