On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published a draft rule that is intended to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants. EPA hopes to accomplish this through a state-focused strategy that is essentially an energy control rule than a traditional environmental pollution control effort. EPA expects to finalize the rule by June 2015 and the States will then have until June 2016 to implement state-specific plans to meet the requirements of the final rule. According to EPA, existing power plants are the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S., accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. This rule proposes to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent from 2005 levels, aiming at changing how energy is generated and used. The rule also proposes specific reduction goals for each state. Under section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act, the states are given flexibility in designing plans to meet the standards once they are set. Therefore, much of the decisionmaking on how to implement these requirements will occur at the state level. Comments on the proposed rule will be due within 120 days from the date of publication of the rule in the Federal Register.
For a copy of the draft rule and related documents, click here.