What Will Obama's Final Clean Power Plan Look Like?
Next week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to reveal the final version of new regulations that will significantly reduce carbon emissions in the United States. The regulations are part of the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan and represent an important part of the president's legacy.
Stronger Than Expected
Buzz ahead of the EPA release suggested that the targets for carbon reduction will be even higher than the 30 percent that was initially proposed. Speaking at an event on Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough commented that the plan "will be stronger in many ways than the proposed rule put forward by the EPA."
Give And Take
Although the reduction targets are loftier, the EPA did take complaints from the energy and manufacturing industries into account when writing the final draft. When the proposal was released, the EPA had designated a start date in 2020, but the final plan is expected to give states two extra years to prepare for the new rules, which will go into effect in 2022.
However, credit will be given to those states that are able to implement the new rules early.
How To Reduce Emissions
The EPA set new emission targets for each individual state and is expected to provide four action options in order to meet those targets. States can improve the efficiently of their coal-fired power plants, exchange coal for natural gas, use more renewable resources like wind and solar power or increase efficiency in homes and businesses.
However, increasing efficiency, many power companies argue, is beyond their control and shouldn't be included as a target. The EPA is expected to remove that component, though companies who do increase efficiency through customer incentives would still be on track to meet their reduction goals.
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