On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency released their Clean Power Plan proposal. This proposal aims to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, the largest sources of carbon pollution in the United States.  Power plants are responsible for approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.  This proposed rule will amend the existing Clean Air Act and marks the first time that carbon pollution from power plants has been regulated at a federal level.

 

The Clean Power Plan aims to cut carbon emissions nationwide from existing power plants by thirty percent below 2005 levels by 2030. According to EPA’s proposal, this reduction in carbon pollution will also result in reducing particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 25 percent.

 

EPA will implement the Clean Power Plan through a state-federal partnership. States will have until June 2016 to create and submit a plan to EPA to comply with the new proposal.  Many states have already adopted energy efficiency/ renewable energy (EE/RE) programs to encourage energy conservation and reduce the amount of emissions produced by energy production.  The Clean Power Plan gives states the flexibility to build upon these existing conservation plans or create new ones to meet the Plan’s new pollution limits. States will have the option of partnering with nearby states to create programs that will comply with the new proposal. States will also have the flexibility to set differing pollution limits and use a variety of methods to meet the plans goals, as long as it doesn’t affect the nationwide limit.

 

The EPA is expected to finalize the rule next summer. After the rule is published in the Federal Register, interested stakeholders have 120 days to comment on the proposal.

 

This proposal is part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The President’s Climate Action Plan is the Obama Administration’s strategic initiative to cut carbon pollution; prepare the US for the impacts of climate change; and lead international efforts to combat global climate change.