EPA seeks input on a potential Clean Power Plan replacement rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 18 took a first step toward potentially replacing the Clean Air Act section 111(d) rule, known as the Clean Power Plan, to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil-fuel generating units.

The EPA released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, or ANPR, asking the public for comment on what a replacement rule for the section 111(d) rule should include.

In the ANPR, the EPA is considering proposing emission guidelines to limit GHG emissions from existing electric utility generating units “and is soliciting information on the proper respective roles of the state and federal governments in that process, as well as information on systems of emission reduction that are applicable at or to an existing EGU, information on compliance measures, and information on state planning requirements” under the Clean Air Act, the EPA said.

EPA seeks information on multiple aspects of a potential rule

In the ANPR, the agency said it is seeking information on “multiple aspects of a potential rule that would establish emission guidelines for states to establish performance standards for GHG emissions from existing EGUs.”

The EPA said that it has identified five main areas in which it is soliciting comment. “We emphasize that we are not limiting comment to these identified areas, but that we are identifying these to provide a framework and consistent approach for commenters,” the agency said.

The five areas are:

  1. Roles and responsibilities of states and EPA in regulating existing EGUs for GHGs.
  2. Application and context of limiting GHGs from existing EGUs.
  3. How best to define Best System of Emission Reduction and development of emission guidelines for existing EGUs.
  4. Interaction between a rule limiting GHG emissions from existing EGUs with existing regulatory programs like NSR and NSPS.
  5. Other areas that may assist EPA in considering setting emission guidelines.

There will be a 60-day comment period once the ANPR is issued in the Federal Register.

Additional information about the ANPR is available here.

EPA issued final CPP in the fall of 2015

The EPA issued its final Clean Power Plan in the fall of 2015. In February 2016, the Supreme Court issued a stay of the EPA rule pending a resolution to litigation over the contentious rule.

An executive order issued by President Trump in March 2017 directed the EPA to review, revise or repeal the final rule on CO2. The EPA sent its Clean Power Plan review proposal to the OMB in June.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Oct. 10 issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposed to repeal the CPP and is seeking comment on the agency’s new legal interpretation of  best system of emission reduction.

EPA is currently taking comment on the proposed repeal until Jan. 16, 2018. At the end of November, the agency held a public hearing in Charleston, W.Va., on the repeal and announced plans to hold three more “listening sessions” soon.