: On March 28, the President of the United States signed the executive order Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth
requiring EPA to reconsider a number of previous actions related to climate change and Clean Air Act emissions limits, including revising or withdrawing the Clean Power Plan.
Background on EPA's Clean Power Plan
Published as a Final Rule in October 2015, the Clean Power Plan
aims to lower carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generating units (EGUs) and was initially set to take effect in December 2015.
Specifically, the Clean Power Plan sets greenhouse gas emissions benchmarks that states must meet over time. To meet the benchmarks, the rule requires states to select a best system of emission reduction, or BSER, using a set of criteria or “building blocks” laid out in the rulemaking. The Clean Power Plan was set to roll out between Summer 2016 and Summer 2022 with a long-term goal to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by 32% over 15 years.
Legal Challenge to the Clean Power Plan
After 28 State attorneys general brought a legal case against the Clean Power Plan, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision stayed implementation of the Final Rule
pending the outcome of that case.
Now, there may never be an outcome to that case. The forthcoming executive action also requests that the Justice Department work to suspend consideration of the case by an appeals court.
This would, presumably, keep a stay on the Clean Power Plan in place as EPA begins the lengthy process of rescinding the Final Rule.
More Change Coming at US EPA
Today’s order is the latest executive action to directly impact Obama-era EPA regulations. Last month, the President ordered EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to review the Waters of the United States Rule, which broadened the applicability of some Clean Water Act programs.
The President submitted a budget blueprint to Congress earlier this month
that proposes a 31% budget cut for EPA compared to the 2017 continuing resolution (CR) levels, including more than $100 million saved by defunding the Agency’s Clean Power Plan and climate change efforts, a $129 million reduction in funds for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, $233 million less for the Office of Research and Development, $330 million less for Hazardous Substance Superfund Account, and $482 million less for EPA grants, among other spending decreases.
Clean Air Act Online Course
Designed to help environmental engineers, EHS mangers, and other professionals manage compliance with the Clean Air Act, the Clean Air Act Regulations Online Course
guides professionals through compliance air permitting requirements, emissions and pollution controls, annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, Risk Management Planning (RMP) responsibilities, and more.
Build the expertise needed to make informed on-the-job decisions that help your site control pollution and maintain compliance. Interactive, easy to use, and available 24/7, the new online course will help you get up to speed with new and changing EPA clean air rules and protect your facility from costly EPA enforcement.