Cornerstone - Winter 2015 - (Page 19)
The Implications of the
U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan
By Roger Bezdek
President, Management Information Services, Inc.
n 2 June 2014, under President Obama's Climate Action
Plan and using the authority of Clean Air Act (CAA) section 111(d), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) proposed guidelines, termed the Clean Power Plan (CPP),
to reduce CO2 emissions from existing fossil-fueled power
generating units.1 In early August 2015, the EPA released the
CPP final rule, which is stricter than the initial proposal.1 EPA
contends that the CPP would achieve CO2 emission reductions
from the power sector of 32% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
There is extensive ongoing debate concerning the costs and
benefits, economic effects, impacts on the coal, natural gas,
power, and related industries, disparate regional impacts,
legality, and other issues. While legal challenges certainly lie
ahead, it is worth exploring the projections of what the EPA
and energy industry experts believe the CPP would accomplish and also what it would cost.
On 20 September 2013, EPA proposed CO2 emissions standards for new power plants under 111(b) and initiated the
process of establishing emissions standards for existing power
plants under 111(d).2 The prospect of undertaking such a significant regulatory program under the authority of 111(d)-a
little-known provision of the law that has only been used five
times in the history of the CAA-is the source of many of the
questions surrounding legality.3
"According to multiple studies, the
CPP would significantly increase
energy costs, and these higher prices
'force' the economy to undergo a
significant shift in energy utilization
and fossil fuel consumption."
BACKGROUND ON THE CPP
When legislating the CAA, Congress recognized that the
opportunity to build emissions controls into a source's (e.g.,
power plant or other emissions source) design is greater for
new sources than for existing sources. Thus, it established the
two separate approaches to set standards:
* Section 111(b) is the federal program to address new, modified, and reconstructed sources by establishing standards.
* Section 111(d) is the state-based program for existing
sources. EPA establishes guidelines, and states design programs that fit those guidelines.
The CPP would regulate CO2 emissions of existing generating
units through state-level CO2 emission rate standards. The
final rule requires that states submit plans to EPA for review
and approval. Those plans must identify how each state will
impose and enforce the specified standards. The CPP does not
make specific orders, such as which measures each state must
use or a required level of emission reductions from each type
of measure. Instead, each state must determine its optimal
plan design and components. If a state refuses to come up
with a plan, as several have threatened, the EPA has provided
a default emissions reduction plan.
The Clean Power Plan is projected to result in the premature closure of coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cornerstone - Winter 2015
From the Editor: Learning From Positive Outcomes on Land Reclamation
CoverStory: Returning Mined Land to Productivity Through Reclamation
Working Alongside the Great Barrier Reef
What Will It Take for CCS to Have a
Future in the European Union?
The Implications of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan
Upholding Strong Environmental Values:
A Key Strategy at Arch Coal
The Colowyo Mine: A Case Study for Successful Mine Reclamation
Detailing Yancoal Australia’s Reclamation Best Practices
Reclaiming Indian Mines
Mining Site Restoration by Spontaneous
Processes in the Czech Republic
DICE—A Step Change Opportunity for Coal?Mackenzie
Construction and Operation of the Shenhua Anqing
High-Efficiency, Low-Emissions Power Plant
Cryogenic Carbon Capture™ as a Holistic Approach
to a Low-Emissions Energy System
Catalyzing Coal Conversion Globally:
An Exclusive Interview With Li Yong-Wang of Synfuels China
Volume 3 Author Index
Cornerstone - Winter 2015
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