On Monday, June 2, EPA and President Obama are expected to jointly announce one of the most significant environmental proposals of the past decade: Clean Air Act regulations that, if finalized, would require the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the Nation’s existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants. The proposed regulations are expected to be aggressive – requiring up to a 25 percent reduction of emissions from a baseline year by 2029 – but also are expected to leave to the individual States the details of how to achieve those reductions. Just how aggressive those regulations might be will depend on a number of factors: whether EPA chooses an earlier or later baseline year against which to assess the required reductions, and thus whether past reductions will be counted toward the goal; whether the regulations will focus solely on what reductions sources can obtain from the power plant itself (known as the “inside the fence line” approach) or whether they will also consider reductions that can be obtained through other means, such as end user demand reduction programs (known as the “beyond the fence line” approach); and how much flexibility States will have to consider their own particular generation mix in developing their plans for achieving the reduction goals.
Litigation over the EPA regulations is inevitable. On May 27, Dorsey & Whitney partner Thomas Lorenzen sat down with Forbes Magazine’s Daniel Fisher to discuss the regulations and the coming legal battles. Read the article here.