14 States Seek Clean Power Plan Guidance Despite Stay

Energy and Climate Report provides current, thorough coverage of clean energy, efficiency, and climate change legislation, regulation, policy, legal developments, and trends in the U.S. and...

By Andrew Childers

April 28 — Fourteen states are asking the Environmental Protection Agency for assistance as they prepare to comply with the Clean Power Plan despite the rule being stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We recognize that the EPA must respect the stay of the Clean Power Plan regulations in providing additional information and that this information would be subject to the outcome of the federal Clean Power Plan litigation,” the 14 states said in an April 28 letter sent to Janet McCabe, EPA's acting assistant administrator for air and radiation. “We believe EPA can provide information helpful to states consistent with the stay, as EPA has done previously when litigation is pending and a stay is in effect.”

The states are encouraging the EPA to provide model rules that would guide their compliance with the Clean Power Plan (RIN 2060-AR33), which sets carbon dioxide standards for existing power plants.

The states said the guidance would be beneficial as they prepare to implement updated ozone air quality standards, which also will impact the power sector, and begin working with state utility regulators on steps to comply with the carbon dioxide standards.

The states also are asking the EPA for additional guidance on tracking systems for emissions allowances; credits for trading programs; and methods to measure and verify energy efficiency gains.

The EPA has said it would continue to work with states, which are charged with implementing the carbon dioxide standards, on a voluntary basis despite a Supreme Court decision halting the rule until it can be litigated (West Virginia v. EPA, U.S., No. 15A773, 2/9/16).

Seek Details on Energy Incentive Program

In addition to the model rules and other guidance, the states said they also were interested in additional details on the EPA's Clean Energy Incentive Program, a voluntary program designed to provide incentives for early investments in renewables and energy efficiency programs in low-income communities. The program is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (81 ECR, 4/27/16).

The letter was signed by environmental regulators in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, all of which are supporting the EPA in its legal defense of the rule (60 ECR, 3/29/16).

Though the EPA has said it would continue to work with states that want to take voluntary measures to comply with the Clean Power Plan should it be upheld, opponents of the rule have argued that the Supreme Court's stay means that all work on the rule should stop until litigation is complete (29 ECR, 2/12/16).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Childers in Washington at achilders@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com