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EPA Finalizes Affordable Clean Energy Rule

Posted on 7/8/2019 by Roger Marks

On July 8, 2019, US EPA finalized three rulemakings related to controlling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. While these rulemakings do not directly impact electricity generating units (EGUs), all US states now will be required to submit implementation plans for approval by EPA. Those state plans will dictate the steps that power plants in each state must take to achieve new greenhouse gas performance standards.

Repeal of the Clean Power Plan

First, EPA officially repealed the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 rulemaking aimed to lower carbon pollution from the power sector by 32% over 15 years. The Clean Power Plan was stayed by the Supreme Court in February 2016 in a 5—4 decision, and was therefore never implemented or enforced by EPA.

In October 2017, EPA put forth a proposed rule to officially repeal the Clean Power Plan in line with the Presidential Executive Order Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.

Identify the latest US EPA air, water, and chemical regulations that impact your facility at the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop in Anaheim, Houston, New Jersey, or Orlando in 2019.

Final Rule: Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE)

EPA also finalized its new Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE). ACE contains emissions guidelines “to inform states in the development, submittal, and implementation of state plans to establish standards for CO2 from certain existing coal-fired EGUs…”

EPA is also finalizing a determination that heat rate improvement (HRI) is the best system of emission reduction (BSER) for reducing greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide. Using HRI to reduce carbon intensity at EGUs was one of three “building blocks” laid out in the now-repealed Clean Power Plan.

New Regulations to Implement ACE

Third, US EPA is finalizing new regulations to implement its Affordable Clean Energy Rule, to be placed in the newly created 40 CFR part 60, subpart Ba. A main takeaway from the new ACE regulations is EPA’s effort to strike a balance between Federal and State responsibilities for controlling air pollution.

States must submit their plans to implement the new regulations by July 8, 2022. 

More information is available in the July 8 Federal Register.

Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training

Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field, or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.

Check out the latest EPA compliance training options here:
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Check out the 2019 nationwide schedule for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop. Collaborate with other managers to identify the requirements that apply to your facility, ask the right questions, and make the right decisions about EPA compliance.

Tags: air pollution, Clean Air Act, Clean Power Plan, greenhouse gases

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