Stakeholders weigh in on EPA pollution plan
WASHINGTON — Before President Obama introduces a plan to lower carbon emissions from thousands of existing power plants, those on all sides of the issue have attempted to make their mark on the regulations.
Electric utilities, environmental groups, large electricity consumers and states have been working furiously behind the scenes for months to have a say in new rules that will be laid out by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Obama, in a video released by the White House on Saturday, confirmed that he will deliver a major speech on climate change on Tuesday. “I'll lay out my vision for where I believe we need to go — a national plan to reduce carbon pollution,” Obama said.
Administration officials have said the White House will use the Clean Air Act to tackle power plants, which account for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
This comes as no surprise to the companies and states that will have to either comply with or carry out the regulations. For the past few months, they have been working behind the scenes to influence the EPA before it begins what could be a months- or years-long rule-making process.
“The traditional industry response to EPA rule-making is — the EPA puts something out, and then we respond to it,” said Emily Fisher, a director of legal affairs for energy and environment at electric industry lobby group Edison Electric Institute. “This is different in that we feel obligated to be more engaged early on.” To regulate existing sources, the agency will need to use a rarely used and broadly worded section of the Clean Air Act, known as 111(d).
Under that statute, the EPA would set federal emissions guidelines and decide upon the best systems or technologies for reducing emissions. Each state would then be left to set performance standards for its power plants and to determine how the plants will meet those standards.
Because there is little legal precedent for the rule, the agency will rely on a range of external sources for input, said Dina Kruger, a former director of the EPA climate change division and now a regulatory consultant.
Environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council has developed the most detailed proposal so far.
In December, it revealed a plan in which the EPA would set state-specific emissions rates that would give the states most reliant on coal-generated energy more time to comply.
Dan Lashof, council's climate and clean air program director, said the group wrote the plan to “rehabilitate the reputation of the Clean Air Act,” which critics say will raise electricity prices, “and show there is a flexible way to regulate carbon.”
Under the plan, a state that currently gets more electricity from coal-fired power plants than cleaner-burning natural gas or renewable energy would set an emissions rate target in 2020 that is higher than for a state that is less coal-dependent.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russia, China ply cyberdata to exploit U.S. spies
- Alaska-bound, Obama makes waves by renaming Mount McKinley
- U.S. Embassy to Japan used private emails, watchdog finds
- Virginia reporter, cameraman killed on air; gunman also dies
- Dow, S&P, Nasdaq soar 4% despite China worries, but volatility expected to endure
- Compatibility of 1st-responder radios in doubt
- Gas boom brings successes, struggles to W.Va. communities
- Suspect in Houston-area deputy’s death has history of mental illness, prosecutors say
- McKinley backers balk over mountain’s name change
- Supreme Court rules against Kentucky county clerk on gay marriage licenses