Aug. 11 — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is confident that the agency's carbon dioxide standards will be upheld in the courts and would be difficult for future administrations to reverse.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Aug. 11 that the agency's Clean Power Plan is “quite legally solid,” though she acknowledged that the legality of the regulation will be debated “endlessly” over the next few years.
The final Clean Power Plan (RIN 2060-AR33), released Aug. 3, is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The agency dropped a proposed energy efficiency component of the rule that critics had argued would illegally require emissions reductions beyond the fence line of the power plants themselves, a move that attorneys said makes the final rule more legally defensible.
“It will stand the test of time in the courts,” McCarthy said during remarks at a Resources for the Future event in Washington, D.C.
The Clean Power Plan already was targeted by an early lawsuit that ultimately was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit because the rule at the time was not yet final (In re: Murray Energy Corp., 788 F.3d 330, 2015 BL 180996 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
States and utilities that oppose the rule have asked the D.C. Circuit to rehear those challenges now that the rule has been signed (In re: Murray Energy Corp., D.C. Cir., No. 14-1112, motions filed 8/6/15).
McCarthy, when asked how a future administration could alter the Clean Power Plan, said any effort to reverse it would face a “significant hurdle.”
She noted that there is a “pretty solid record” supporting the rule, dating back to the endangerment finding on power plant carbon emissions.
“When you have a final Clean Air Act rule, it's a pretty solid obligation,” McCarthy said.
By the time a new administration takes over in 2017, there will be a “significant number” of state plans outlining how states will move to comply with the rule, McCarthy said. The final Clean Power Plan requires states to file at least an initial submission by Sept. 6, 2016. Final plans would not be due until Sept. 6, 2018.
The EPA chief touted the agency's draft model rule, released alongside the Clean Power Plan. The draft rule proposes two kinds of emissions trading programs, a mass-based trading program that would see the EPA establish state emissions budgets based on the total amount of carbon dioxide allowed, with allowances based on historical generation, and a rate-based program that would require power plants that don't meet a specific emissions standard to acquire a sufficient number of emissions rate credits to offset excess emissions.
McCarthy said the focus on emissions trading allows states to “leverage” the power of the market in order to multiply compliance options and minimize costs.
“No plant has to do this alone,” she said. “No state has to do this alone.”
The Clean Power Plan allows states to link into markets without requiring a formal mechanism to do so, McCarthy said. States will be able to maintain their independence without passing on “less-expensive” compliance options by informally dealing with other states that have the same type of trading program, be it mass-based or rate-based, she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Ambrosio 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)