EPA pushes back comment deadline on early credit program to Nov. 1.

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 29, 2016

U.S. EPA is giving commenters two extra months to submit their thoughts on a controversial portion of the Clean Power Plan.

The agency yesterday extended the deadline for feedback on its Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) to Nov. 1.

The CEIP is voluntary and is meant to encourage early renewable power development and low-income energy efficiency projects. But many have suggested that as written, it may not work in the way the agency intends (ClimateWire, Aug. 5).

Critics have also said that because the Supreme Court froze implementation of the Clean Power Plan, EPA should not be moving forward with any work that necessitates official comments. Agency officials maintain they are on sound legal ground in pushing forward in writing the CEIP and in assisting states who ask for planning help.

States, companies and advocacy groups were working to finish comments on the CEIP before the original deadline of Sept. 2, and many had requested more time. Some had already come close to finalizing their submissions.

Arizona last week held a last-minute public meeting to review thoughts on the program.

Iowa’s key agencies in charge of complying with the rule to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector had just submitted their comments Thursday when they heard about the extension. Iowa officials noted they support the goals of the CEIP but said it may be too complex.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Utilities Board and Iowa Economic Development Authority also have concerns about encouraging projects that may not yield enough money to be worth it to providers.

Under the CEIP, EPA would essentially provide extra carbon trading allowances or credits for certain early work to decarbonize the power sector. Those allowances or credits would have monetary value in a trading system, but Iowa agencies said they worry they won’t be valuable enough in the early years of the rule’s compliance period.