Yesterday, EPA released its much-anticipated proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.
In its proposed rule, EPA proposes “state-specific rate-based goals for carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector.” To achieve these goals, states implementing the program would be given flexibility to adopt a range of approaches, including caps on overall emissions (as in California’s cap and trade program) and other programs that would achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions “outside the fence”—i.e., outside of the utility sector.
EPA projects a reduction in annual carbon dioxide emissions in the range of 26 to 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 if the proposed rule is implemented. Although all fossil fuel-fired power plants would be affected by the draft rule, coal-fired plants would face the steepest reduction requirements.
As anticipated, environmental groups have generally reacted positively to EPA’s announcement, while the coal industry and lawmakers from West Virginia, North Dakota, and other coal producing states oppose the proposal.
Comments on the proposed rule are due September 30.