EPA Strikes Guidance to States on Clean Power Plan

The EPA launched its first strike on the Obama administration’s carbon dioxide standards for power plants by quashing proposals that would have aided states in implementing the rule and rewarded early compliance.

Following President Donald Trump’s March 28 executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency to review its various climate change regulations, the agency canceled proposed guidance to states and model emissions trading rules for implementing the Clean Power Plan and an accompanying proposal that would reward states for taking early steps to curb carbon dioxide emissions before the rule was to take effect, according to a notice to be published in the Federal Register April 3.

“The EPA believes it should use this time to re-evaluate these [Clean Power Plan]-related proposals and, if appropriate, put out re-proposals or new proposals to ensure that the public is commenting on EPA’s most up-to-date thinking on these issues,” the agency said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan,which set carbon dioxide emissions limits on the power sector in each state, while the legality over the rule is under review. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard a full day of arguments on the rule in 2016 but has not yet issued its opinion.

The EPA has asked that the lawsuits be halted while it reviews the Clean Power Plan. Likewise, the D.C. Circuit has canceled argument over comparable emissions limits for new and modified power plants while it evaluates an agency request to halt that litigation as well.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was one of the leading challengers to the rules when he served as Oklahoma attorney general. In a March 30 letter, Pruitt told states they have “no obligation to spend resources” to comply with the rule because it has been stayed by the Supreme Court.