11 Oct 2017

Yesterday, EPA Administrator Pruitt formally announced the repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Obama era regulation that would have limited CO2 emissions from the country’s power sector.

For the past three years, KEEA has worked on the state and federal levels to ensure that energy efficiency would be a cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s state plan to comply with the CPP. As an organization, we envisioned it could rapidly grow the market for energy efficiency by allowing regulated CO2 sources to comply with the CPP by purchasing carbon allowances generated by efficiency projects.

The basis for repeal rests on Pruitt EPA’s new legal interpretation that the CPP exceeded EPA’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act by requiring regulated facilities to look “beyond the fence line” to comply with new emissions targets by shifting generation to other sources, or acquiring emissions credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Additionally, the EPA revised its cost/benefit analysis for the CPP, by modifying the price of carbon, the health impacts of pollution reduction, and the calculation for energy efficiency savings. Together, these changes increase the costs and decrease the benefits of the CPP.

Despite the EPA’s new posture, the roll-back of the CPP will not be simple.  First, the Administrative Procedure Act requires the EPA to allow for significant public input in the form of comments and hearings on the proposed and final repeal.  Through this process, the EPA must respond to the legal and scientific arguments raised by stakeholders.

The largest hurdle faced by the EPA, however, will be legal challenges to the agency’s decision brought by environmental groups and states that support the CPP. The EPA has a legal obligation to regulate carbon, and inaction, or delayed action, by the EPA will be met with ire by courts, who have heard litigation on these issues for the past decade.

In the coming months, KEEA will continue to engage in issues and proceedings on the Clean Power Plan to ensure Pennsylvania has the tools it needs to reach is full energy efficiency potential.

Questions? Contact Eric Miller, KEEA Policy Counsel, emiller@keealliance.org

 

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