Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Clean Power Plan proposal, aimed at cutting carbon pollution from existing power plants. According to EPA, power plants contribute a third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. These plants’ emissions for arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter are already limited, but the Clean Power Plan proposes the first national limits for carbon pollution. EPA intends to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels. Under the proposed plan, states will identify state-specific methods for meeting the goals of the program.
Reaction to the Clean Power Plan has been mixed. Utility companies and SC Governor Nikki Haley have expressed concern that the plan will cause higher power rates and stifle economic growth, while conservation groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council predict the plan will reduce pollution, slow climate change and create a stronger market for renewable energy.
Once the Clean Power Plan proposal is published in the Federal Register, EPA will accept comments for 120 days. During the week of July 28 EPA will hold four public hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Washington and Pittsburgh.