The Clean Power Plan would compel electricity companies in OH and West Virginia to reduce their carbon dioxide pollution by an average of 37 percent by 2040, compared to 2005 levels. This portion of the statute allows the EPA to set overall standards for emissions of a pollutant for each state; the state would then provide the EPA with a plan for reaching that standard.
"Under the interpretation proposed in this notice, the CPP exceeds the EPA's statutory authority and would be repealed", the proposal reads. The agency states that the Clean Air Act is a source for authority but is also carefully crafted to limit what the agency does. NC was the 14th highest producer of carbon emissions in 2014.
Hal Quinn, Director of the National Mining Association lobby group welcomed the news, by saying that "the Clean Power Plan represented an unlawful attempt to transform the nation's power grid".
This argument has never been tested in court. On Feb. 9, 2016, the Supreme Court halted the implementation of the program. The rule withdrawing it will be posted for a public comment period on Tuesday and the EPA could look at further feedback for any replacement.
Environmental groups were critical of the move.
Whether or not this position makes sense technologically is unclear.
Virginia's gubernatorial race is pitting Democrat Ralph Northam against Republican Ed Gillespie, who supports the Trump administration's efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The other two building blocks involve switching to renewables or natural gas. The agency reportedly plans to seek public input on how best to cut emissions from natural-gas and coal-fired power plants.
The Obama-era Clean Power Plan came about after a decade-long effort by several northeastern states, including NY and CT.
The EPA has not decided whether it will replace the Clean Power Plan, according to a draft of the proposal seen by Reuters on Friday, or whether or when it will propose a new rule to regulate emissions from existing power plants. Even so, the plan helped drive a wave of closures of coal-fired plants, which also are squeezed by low-priced natural gas and renewable power. "Repealing the CPP will spur new investment and create new jobs in energy-intensive manufacturing and resource industries".
The final Clean Power Plan provides guidelines for the development, submittal, and implementation of state plans that establish standards of performance or other measures for affected EGUs in order to implement the interim and final Carbon dioxide emission performance rates.
It's an odd position to announce, given that the EPA is now legally required to formulate some sort of regulation for greenhouse gases.
But there are a couple of additional things the EPA would like to hear from the public about. By providing states and utilities ample flexibility and the time needed to achieve these pollution cuts, the Clean Power Plan offers the power sector the ability to optimize pollution reductions while maintaining a reliable and affordable supply of electricity for ratepayers and businesses.