Regulation Database – Clean Power Plan

Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units

President Obama and EPA announced the final Clean Power Plan rule on August 3, 2015. The rule aims to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. To accomplish this, the rule establishes CO2 emission performance rates representing the best system of emission reduction (BSER) for fossil fuel-fired electric utility steam generating units and stationary combustion turbines within each state. States have the flexibility to reach these targets individually or at the regional scale, and to translate the rate-based targets into mass-based targets for compliance purposes. The rule also establishes guidelines for the development, submittal and implementation of state plans to achieve the CO2 emission performance rates.

Impact: EPA projects that by 2030, net climate benefits will reach $30 billion with health benefits adding an additional $18 to $52 billion.

Litigation: Industry groups and states immediately challenged the final rule in West Virginia v. EPA, No.15-1363 (D.C. Cir. 2015).  In February 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan pending review in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In January 2017, State opponents of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan filed a petition for a new lawsuit, asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review EPA’s denial of requests for reconsideration of the rule (which were filed after the rule was finalized but before the Supreme Court stayed its implementation).

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