Most GOP candidates oppose Clean Power Plan

Most candidates for the Republican presidential nomination oppose the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan and a half-dozen have said that they would veto it.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and the two other remaining Democratic nominees support the EPA carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction plan, ScottMadden Partner Todd Williams told the PennWell GenForum Dec. 7 in Las Vegas.

Six GOP candidates have gone 32% by 2030. The veto bloc includes Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum and George Pataki, Williams said. Several other Republican hopefuls, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, oppose the plan but have not committed to a veto.

The position of outspoken billionarie Donald Trump is “unknown,” Williams said.

A new presidential administration opposed to the measure could take various steps to modify or hamper EPA efforts to implement the carbon proposal, Williams said.

Several anti-CPP measures have been proposed in Congress. But given the divided Congress, CPP foes are also looking to the courts for relief, Williams said. President Obama would veto any anti-CPP bill during his tenure.

The courts are the primary battleground. “There is not a lack of suits against the Clean Power Plan,” Williams said.

Williams posted a chart that showed 21 “primary” lawsuits have been filed against the EPA rule since it was published in the Federal Register in October. Most have been filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Don’t be surprised if the litigation gets consolidated and ends up before the U.S. Supreme Court, Williams said.

On another note, Williams said that a ScottMadden review of state agency websites did not turn up much evidence of preliminary state groundwork on the CPP thus far.

The first state implementation plans would be due in September 2016, yet ScottMadden could find notices of only 12 states that have held hearings on the matter so far.

Only four state agency websites were found to have issued news releases pertaining to the CPP. Only 22 states seemed to hav issued any type of information on the Clean Power Plan on their website, Williams said.

On the other hand, it could be that many states are just be very good at updating their websites, Williams said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Only three states — Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont (along with the District of Columbia) — would not be covered by the Clean Power Plan. Williams noted that Vermont and Washington, D.C. lack fossil generation covered by the CPP. Alaska and Hawaii are not connected to the rest of the national grid.

GenForum is organized by GenerationHub and marked the start of POWERGEN-International week in Las Vegas.

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.