EPA Clean Power Plan foes, supporters weigh in on published version

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Oct. 23 finally published in the Federal Register the final version of the Clean Power Plan, which directs states to draft plans to cut electric sector carbon dioxide (CO2) 32% by 2030.

The development triggered expected moves by opponents: 24 states and other parties filed suit in federal court seeking to block the rule. (Similar actions had already been filed in the courts but judges have generally said that the matter was not yet ripe for litigation). In addition, legislation was proposed in congress to scuttle the EPA rule.

Various GOP and carbon-state lawmakers have called the proposal a backdoor attempt by EPA to enforce a cap-and-trade system for CO2, which congress declined to pass in the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act early in the Obama administration.

Meanwhile supporters and opponents of the measure weighed in with either praise or condemnation. Here is a sampling of some of the reaction:

** American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) posted a “top 10” list on its website arguing why wind is a “reliable and affordable” Clean Power Plan solution.

** Balanced Energy for Texas General Counsel Michael Nasi said publication of the EPA carbon reduction program is the latest federal action in an “unprecedented and illegal regulation” regulation. Nasi is happy that Texas and 23 states have filed suit to stop the measure.

** Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is glad to see legislation being proposed in congress to oppose the EPA greenhouse rule. “Although President Obama can veto the bill, it is important for Congress to let the world know that the President’s commitments to a new climate treaty are meaningless.”

** Heartland Institute called the EPA proposal expensive and ineffective. “One analysis, which uses EPA’s own climate models, found this rule would, at best, prevent 0.018 degrees Celsius in potential future warming by 2100 – and this figure was so small, it was within the margin of error, meaning it could actually have the opposite effect,” Heartland said.

** National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) announced that it was among the parties that filed suit against the plan in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. “This rule goes far beyond what the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to do and will challenge our nation’s electric system,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “These complicated regulations will force cooperatives to close power plants, which are producing affordable electricity for consumers who were counting on them for decades to come.”

** The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued its own analysis of what it expects in Clean Power Plan litigation – and predicted that the carbon plan would stand up in court. NRDC also issued statements critical of Ohio and Michigan for joining the lawsuit against the EPA plan.

** Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch praised the Clean Power Plan. “As a nation, it is time to replace our aging, dirty energy infrastructure with clean, reliable, affordable 21st century energy technologies. Solar energy is the most sensible compliance option for states under the Clean Power Plan.”

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.