U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan
In June 2013, President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan—a national blueprint to slow the effects of climate change. The plan focused on both carbon dioxide (CO2) and more potent greenhouse gases (GHG) such as methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons, and on various sources of greenhouse gas emissions, including industrial and transportation sources. Part of the Climate Action Plan directs U.S. EPA to promulgate rules to address CO2 emissions from new and existing power plants, the largest source of GHG emissions in the country. In August 2015, U.S. EPA's released its rulemaking package, known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP). In response, the California Air Resources Board collaborated with the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission to develop California's plan for compliance with CPP.
Although continuing litigation has stayed certain CPP deadlines in the near term, and U.S. EPA has proposed to reconsider aspects of the rule as issued, CPP remains the law of the land. California is vigorously defending this important program and continuing to support federal climate regulation as is required by law. U.S EPA also has a legal obligation to implement GHG controls for power plants, even if it proposes to alter the form of those controls in the future.
In August 2018, U.S. EPA proposed a replacement to the CPP called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule. The ACE Rule would consist only of source-specific measures to reduce CO2 emissions. It would also create a loophole for New Source Review preconstruction permitting requirements for existing power plants. The ACE Rule would achieve very minimal emissions reductions compared to CPP, and could potentially increase emissions.