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...
April 10 — The Environmental Protection Agency is open to revising interim carbon dioxide emissions reductions targets in its Clean Power Plan, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will grant states additional time to comply, Administrator Gina McCarthy said.
The EPA has repeatedly said it would be open to revising those interim targets in response to concerns raised by states that those early targets, which must be met between 2020 and 2029, are too stringent. However, McCarthy stopped short of saying the agency would push back those deadlines during an April 10 climate change forum at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business sponsored by the New Republic.
“The interim goal, for me, is essential because the EPA doesn’t tend to set goals that are so far out,” McCarthy said.
However, McCarthy said she acknowledges states' concerns and agreed that the stringency of those targets may drive states to pursue new natural gas-fired power plants as the most convenient compliance measure, limiting investment in renewable generation or energy efficiency programs.
That's a concern McCarthy said the EPA will need to address in its final Clean Power Plan, expected this summer.
“There's lots of reasons to take this seriously, but that doesn’t mean you push it out,” McCarthy said.
The proposed Clean Power Plan (RIN 2060-AR33), issued under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, would establish unique carbon dioxide emissions rates for the power sector in each state.
The EPA rule would be implemented by states, which would determine how best to achieve the emissions targets using four “building blocks” to achieve reductions: heat rate improvements at power plants, shifting dispatch from coal to natural gas, investment in renewable or nuclear generation and energy efficiency programs.
States would be required to meet interim targets between 2020 and 2029, with a final emissions rate to be achieved in 2030.
McCarthy said the goal of the proposal is to build upon measures states are already taking to curb carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.
“What we’ve set out in our Clean Power Plan is actually based on what’s already happening, what states are already doing,” she said.
States have repeatedly raised concerns with the interim emissions targets, which require many to achieve the majority of the Clean Power Plan's required emissions reductions within a few years of finalizing their compliance plans.
The EPA has seemed responsive to those concerns with both McCarthy and Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for air and radiation, publicly indicating that the agency would address that issue in the final rule.
“We’ve been getting pretty strong signals that’s the lowest hanging fruit on concessions,” Clint Woods, executive director of the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies, told Bloomberg BNA April 10.
Many states in their public comments on the proposed rule suggested the interim targets be eliminated entirely or that states be allowed to determine the best glidepath toward achieving that 2030 emissions rate with periodic demonstrations to the EPA that they are on track to achieve that goal.
“There are a few states telling us we’re too aggressive, it’s too sharp, too steep a cliff,” McCarthy said.
Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, suggested the EPA could potentially phase in the required emissions reductions over the 10-year compliance period rather than mandating that most of the carbon dioxide emissions reductions be achieved up front.
“There would be little opposition to EPA changing the 2020 start date for the interim reductions to a more manageable time frame,” Becker told Bloomberg BNA April 10.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Childers 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)