EPA Ready to Repeal Clean Power Plan

Posted on 10/13/2017 by Roger Marks

coal-fired-power-plant.jpgUS EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on October 10 signed a proposed Rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 EPA rulemaking that set state-specific, rate-based limits on greenhouse gases emitted from electricity generating units, or EGUs (i.e., power plants).

Under the Clean Power Plan, each state would have been required to design and implement a program to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by Summer 2018. Mandatory compliance would have started in Summer 2022. The stated goal of this new clean air program was to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030.

For more information on the soon-to-be-repealed Clean Power Plan, read: EPA Announces New Clean Power Plan

Why Is EPA Repealing the Clean Power Plan?

The current Administration’s decision to repeal the CPP is based on a difference in interpretation of the Clean Air Act Section 111(d), which requires EPA to set emissions guidelines for existing sources of air pollution, and base those guidelines on “best system of emission reduction” (BSER).

When the CPP was finalized, EPA interpreted “best system” to include shifting from coal-fired electricity generation to other, renewable sources like wind and solar. The new administration is working from a stricter interpretation of §111(d), under which the “best system” must be a technological or operational control that can be applied to or at a single source of air pollution.

Legal Challenges to the Clean Power Plan

EPA faced legal challenges to its Clean Power Plan almost immediately upon promulgating the Final Rule in October 2015. By February 10, 2016, the Supreme Court had issued a stay on the rule, preventing EPA from implementing or enforcing the new Clean Air Act provisions.

POTUS Unplugs Clean Power Plan

In March 2017, the President of the US issued an Executive Order to revoke many of the previous administration’s orders and reports related to climate change environmental orders issued by the previous administration and required EPA to “suspend, revise, or rescind” the Clean Power Plan.

What’s Next for Clean Air Act Greenhouse Gas Rules?

Like the Clean Power Plan itself, the effort to repeal the CPP will likely face legal challenges from environmental groups and State Attorneys General.

EPA’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan will appear in the Federal Register soon, and a public comment period will ensue. At this time, EPA has no immediate plans to issue a new rule to regulated greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, but the Agency is considering the scope and timing of such a rule. That said, EPA is planning to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in order to solicit comments from industry and State agencies.

Clean Air Act Online Training

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. 

Tags: Act, Air, Clean, EPA, new rules

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