Sunday, September 18, 2016

Most States on Track to Meet Emissions Targets They Call Burden

The John Amos coal-fired power plant is seen behind a home in Poca, West Virginia May 18, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith/Files) Click to Enlarge.
The 27 states challenging Obama’s Clean Power Plan in court say the lower emissions levels it would impose are an undue burden.  But most are likely to hit them anyway.

Already, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Dakota appear to be meeting the CPP's early targets. And changes in the power market, along with policies favoring clean generation, are propelling most of the rest toward timely compliance, according to researchers, power producers and officials, as well as government filings reviewed by Reuters.

“We are seeing reductions earlier than we ever expected,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said in an interview. “ It’s a great sign that the market has already shifted and people are invested in the newer technologies, even while we are in litigation.”
States engaged in the legal battle that is set for an appellate court hearing later this month say their concerns go beyond whether they can meet the mandate.  The states, most of them led by Republican governors, say they object to what they view as federal overreach by Obama and the Democrats and want to maintain flexibility to make energy decisions at the state level that reflect changing market conditions.
The CPP sets carbon-reduction goals for each state, but allows states to decide how to meet them.

During the early years of implementation, the goals are guidelines intended to put states on track to meet the final deadline of 2030. If a state fails to submit a plan to the EPA by interim deadlines, the agency can impose its own plan on that state's power producers. Failure to comply by 2030 could open a state up to administrative penalties and lawsuits.

To be sure, some states fighting the mandate would have to drastically change course to meet it. West Virginia, which is leading the legal challenge with Texas, still relies largely on carbon-spewing, coal-fired power. And Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming have large gaps between their current emissions and the plan's mandates.

But, in a reflection of how rapidly the power market is shifting, the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration earlier this year reduced its forecast for 2030 power plant carbon emissions by nearly 11 percent, without factoring in reductions that may be generated by the Clean Power Plan.

The projection for the nation as a whole would be nearly two-thirds of the CPP’s target by 2030, even if the law never takes effect.
Some of the states contesting the rules say they object to strict timelines.

Read more at Most States on Track to Meet Emissions Targets They Call Burden

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