EPA Clean Power Plan finalized, legal challenges promised

Power_plant

The Environmental Protection Agency published the final version of its Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register today, representing the first-ever federal limitations on power plant pollution.

These regulations have the goal of cutting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the power generation sector by 32 percent by 2030.

According to Scientific American’s Climatewire, the Federal Register will contain the new rules for new and retrofitted power plants as well as the proposed federal implementation plan required of states that refuse to give the EPA a compliance plan.

It is this compliance plan that is expected to generate legal challenges. A 90-day comment period following this publication will wrap up January 21. Lawsuits must be filed within 60 days of the rule’s publication in the Federal Register, and the first ones could happen as early as today.

Earlier versions of the rule already drew legal actions from West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Kentucky.

Opponents from states that make heavy use of coal power say these rules overstep the EPA’s authority as designated by the Clean Air Act.

The EPA has also released an incentive plan called the Clean Energy Incentive Program to encourage participation in the agency’s emissions-cutting efforts.

The program is meant to reward states that invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy before the rule takes effect with extra allowances and emission credits. Participation in the program is optional.

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