The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its anxiously-awaited proposal to cut carbon pollution from power plants. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which the agency crafted on instruction from President Obama, will cut carbon emissions from the power sector 30 percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels.
While opponents of the plan say it will raise electric rates, the EPA says the plan will shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels. The EPA’s plan will cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent, it says.
The Clean Power Plan will be implemented through a state-federal partnership under which states identify a path forward using a variety of methods to achieve the goals. States can choose options such as using diverse fuels, energy efficiency techniques and demand-side management to meet their goals.
The proposal requires states to submit plans by June 2016, with the option to use a two-step process for submitting final plans if more time is needed. States that have already invested in energy efficiency programs will be able to build on these programs during the compliance period to help make progress toward meeting their goals.
EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 120 days after publication in the Federal Register and will hold four public hearings on the proposed Clean Power Plan during the week of July 28 in the following cities: Denver, Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh. Based on this input, EPA will finalize standards next June following the schedule laid out in the June 2013 Presidential Memorandum.