EPA Releases Carbon-Cutting Rule for Existing Power Plants

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced on Monday the long-awaited proposed rule to reduce the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. It calls for cuts of 30 percent by 2030, with the baseline year of 2005, to be finalized next year.

Hearings on the new rule, formally called the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule, the centerpiece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's website, will be held in July, writes The Hill'Laura Barron-Lopez in the first of several written about the plan. [See EPA news release.]

Using 2005 as the baseline makes it easier for the power sector to meet the reductions targets, since emissions are down roughly 10 percent already from 2005 [largely due to the increased use of natural gas and reduction in coal usage]. If the base year had been a more recent year, like 2012, it would have made the projected cuts more difficult to meet. [See "Historic Drop In Carbon Dioxide Emissions".]

"The nation’s leading business and industry organizations presented a unified front Monday against the (Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule), painting the proposal as disastrous for the economy," writes The Hill's Benjamin Goad. "Arguing that the rule would decimate the coal industry, several groups accused the Obama administration of running away from its stated “all of the above” energy policy." 

Not all businesses were displeased, however. A coalition of 176 companies, organized by Ceres, a corporate sustainability group, wrote in support of the rule, calling it "a critical step in moving our country towards a clean energy economy,” writes The Hll's Timothy Cama.

As one might expect, the environmental community community was pleased with the plan. NRDC President Frances Beinecke's blogged that the Power Plan rule was "the single most important thing our nation can do right now to fight climate change."

However, one critic was not impressed - the European Union. Barron-Lopez writes that "the EU said the United States must do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if President Obama wants to keep talks heading into the Paris climate meeting [in December, 2015] on track."

Many more articles from The Hill on the Power Plan rule are accessible on their Energy & Environment webpage.

Full Story: EPA unveils landmark climate rule

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