Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Rachel Leven
Sept. 10 — The Clean Power Plan presents a unique opportunity to shift how states and companies think about energy, but it won't be a “silver bullet” for all environmental justice issues related to power plants, an Environmental Protection Agency official said Sept. 10.
The EPA's landmark rule is intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, meaning that other pollutant emissions aren't required to be reduced under the rule, Kevin Culligan, an EPA associate division director, told justice advocates. But as states and companies think about how to comply with the rule, it provides them a “real opportunity” to look at their actions in “a larger energy-planning kind of way,” alongside other environmental mandates, he said during the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council's meeting in Arlington, Va.
“There isn't a single silver bullet” for resolving environmental justice concerns, Culligan said, urging justice advocates to harness all parts of the Clean Air Act and other laws to resolve these overburdened communities' other pollutant concerns.
“The real opportunity here is not that the Clean Power Plan itself can solve all of the concerns about all of the power plants … but in many ways, [the opportunity is] that it changed the dialogue” to think holistically, Culligan said.
The EPA released on Aug. 3 its final Clean Power Plan rule (RIN 2060-AR33), which sets state-specific power sector carbon dioxide emissions rates or alternatively mass-based targets. States must develop their own plans to meet these goals, which are phased in between 2022 and 2030. In order to receive an extension to develop and submit those plans, the states must demonstrate they have addressed overburdened communities as part of the planning process.
Culligan made his remarks following—and in response to—comments from several environmental justice advocates on the final rule, some of whom called for the EPA to do more to protect overburdened communities.
While council member Vernice Miller-Travis praised both the agency and justice advocates for their involvement in developing a rule that culminated in a strong environmental justice focus, council member Nicky Sheats and others said that the rule didn't ensure that overburdened communities received the benefits.
Justice advocates have expressed concern that actions such as carbon trading could result in increased activity at certain power plants, resulting in higher emissions for those communities, and the EPA moved to address those issues in its final rule.
“The rule does a good job of saying ‘we don’t want disproportionate impacts in overburdened communities,' ” Sheats said. “But what we really want is [an emissions] reduction in [environmental justice] communities.”
Several members of the council called for the EPA to encourage states to ensure that these communities saw reduced emissions locally, to establish clear investment and outcome metrics for state plans and to ensure that communities have the knowledge to engage with industry and states effectively on state plans as they are developed.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rachel Leven in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)