There was the ususal mixed reaction in Washington DC on Jan. 7 to an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it would be delayed for a few weeks beyond its announced June 2015 timeline to put the CO2-reducing Clean Power Plan into final form.
EPA announced that it will finalize the three standards related to the Clean Power Plan (CPP) by mid summer, instead of June, to accommodate the millions of comments submitted by the public. The EPA also announced that it will be proposing a model federal plan to help states craft their own at the same time the standards are finalized. The CPP was released in June 2014 and is the first-ever effort of the EPA to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.
In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said: “This shows that the Administration is serious about keeping its promises to protect public health and our planet. Yesterday’s firm declaration against the dirty tar sands pipeline and today’s announcement of a clear timeline for moving forward with the Clean Power Plan by midsummer, shows that the Obama Administration is not backing down on protecting our communities from unchecked pollution. We applaud the EPA as it moves forward with this groundbreaking standard and its commitment to ready a model federal plan for states who fail to submit their own plan. We look forward to working with the EPA and state governments to craft thoughtful plans that reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean energy economy from coast-to-coast.”
On the other hand, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity blasted EPA’s announcement that it will finalize these regulations by mid-summer 2015. “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 CEO 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.”
The proposed regulations have been the subject of serious concerns at the state level, with officials in many states calling into question the legality and reliability issues associated with the proposed rule. As of last fall a total of thirteen attorneys general and fifteen governors had reached out to the EPA and President Obama requesting that the agency withdraw its proposed carbon rule.
In October of last year, NERA Economic Consulting released a new analysis projecting significant negative economic impacts resulting from EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, ACCCE noted. The report, which relies on conservative data and often EPA’s own assumptions, showed double-digit energy cost increases as a result of the agency’s regulations.