EPA Releases Draft Rule to Reduce Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Clean Power Plan proposal.  The proposed rule, which is based on Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, requires states to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants.  Under the proposed rule, states would be required to meet state-specific goals through a mix of strategies, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and demand-side management.  EPA will develop a final rule by June 2015 and state plans are due in June 2016, with the option to use a two-step process for submitting final plans if more time is needed.  Details on the proposed rule, including the full proposed rule, a press release, and a fact sheet on the national framework for states, is available on the EPA website

NASEO has not taken a position on the merits of EPA’s rulemaking under Section 111(d).  However, for the past nine months, NASEO has been working with the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)—the “3N” group— to reach consensus on a number of priorities, such as principles for including energy efficiency under the 111(d) rulemaking.  The 3N group also submitted draft evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) preamble language to EPA.  In January 2014, NASEO submitted comments to EPA that called for implementation flexibility, a method for crediting energy efficiency, and an emphasis on maintaining the reliability of the electric grid. 

In today’s press conference on the proposed rule, which NASEO attended, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stressed the importance of state flexibility and building upon the track record of successful state-implemented programs.  “States can pick from a portfolio of options to meet regional, state, and community needs,” said McCarthy.

EPA has reached out to NASEO regarding scheduling a conference call on the proposed rule for State Energy Offices.  We will follow-up with more details once the call is confirmed.  The proposal will have a 120 day comment period, including public hearings the week of July 28, 2014 in: Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Washington, DC.