During a press conference on Jan. 7, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe said the agency will delay a final rule to control carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new coal-fired power plants.
A final rule was set for Jan. 8, but EPA said it will delay the rule until mid-summer to allow states time to submit their own plans.
"This is all about the best policy outcome, and the appropriate policy outcome," McCabe said. "That is what we are talking about here, and that is why we think it is important to finalize these rules in the same time frame.”
McCabe went on to say that if states fail to submit a plan to cut emissions under the Clean Power Plan, which requires existing power plants to reduce CO2 emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, then EPA will federally enforce a plan created for the state.
Former Clean Air Act attorney for EPA Region 2 Jacob Hollinger said a federal plan is not something that states should look forward to.
“I’ve heard some states aren’t going to do it. They’re going to say give us a federal plan,” said Hollinger. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea. If the state doesn’t submit a plan, EPA is going to impose a federal plan. If you end up with a federal plan, you’re going to have more burdens on EGUs than you are under a state plan.”
However, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) stated that when coal provides nearly 40 percent of the nation’s electricity, and more than thirteen attorneys general and fifteen governors request the agency withdraw its rule, the EPA should acknowledge its plan will hurt ratepayers and the economy.
“Rather than looking to work together to reach commonsense and practical energy guidelines in 2015, the Administration is doubling down on its climate crusade at the expense of our economy and our people,” said Mike Duncan, president and chief executive officer of ACCCE. “The Administration is turning a deaf ear to mounting concerns being raised by energy experts, grid operators and state officials and is instead continuing its ‘go at it alone’ mentality—all to fulfill a misguided presidential legacy.”
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