Clean Power Plan goes to White House for final review 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan traveled to the White House Office of Management and Budget yesterday for one last vetting before a final version is released, the office’s regulatory website shows.

The existing power plant carbon rule has become a political lightning rod since it was proposed one year ago today. President Obama originally asked EPA to release a final version this month, but the agency has pledged to do so by “midsummer,” and the OMB website projects it will be out in August.

After EPA finalizes the rule together with regulations for new and modified power plants, states will be tasked with determining how and whether to comply. Some officials, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), have hinted that they plan not to write a state implementation plan, while others, like Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), have said they will. EPA is in the final stages of formulating a federal plan that would be enforced in states that opt not to submit an approvable plan, though Republican lawmakers aim to prevent the federal agency from imposing it.

The rule’s opponents say it would drive up electrical rates and burden U.S. manufacturing. But EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia said in a statement today that the rule depends on a “time-tested” partnership with the states and incorporates millions of stakeholder comments collected over many months.

“This vital input is giving the agency the opportunity to address a wide range of issues in the draft final rule that will deliver a clean, affordable and reliable electricity supply, drive American innovation and American jobs, and that will demonstrate U.S. leadership within the international community,” she said. The agency has hinted at substantive changes between the draft and final versions, especially when it comes to the rule’s early compliance period and the way it treats nuclear energy.

William Becker of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies said that EPA “has demonstrated throughout the rulemaking process that it is listening carefully to states’ views.”

“We hope and expect the agency and OMB will follow through and revise its proposal accordingly,” he said.