EPA set to issue Clean Power Plan replacement this spring

Source: Niina Heikkinen, E&E News Reporter • Posted: Monday, February 11, 2019

EPA is still planning to finalize a replacement for the Clean Power Plan close to its original schedule, the agency told a federal appeals court today.

EPA is aiming to finalize the Affordable Clean Energy rule in the second quarter of 2019. The agency is also “evaluating the impacts that the recent lapse in appropriations has had on the Agency’s schedule for taking final action,” according to a status update to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In the Trump administration’s 2018 fall Unified Agenda, EPA had initially proposed completing the rule at the end of the first quarter, in March.

The agency noted it had not been able to review public comments or work on the rule between Dec. 28, when EPA temporarily closed due to lack of appropriations, and Jan. 25, the last day of the partial government shutdown.

The agency continued to ask the court to stay a case on the Clean Power Plan as it works as “expeditiously as practicable” to complete the replacement.

This is not the first time a government shutdown has affected EPA’s efforts to draft regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Joe Goffman, who was a senior official in EPA’s air office during the drafting of the Clean Power Plan, recalled the agency was two months into working on the CPP at the time of the October 2013 shutdown.

At that time, the agency had a June 2 deadline to publicly release the proposal and had to compensate for lost time due to the shutdown.

“Somehow we managed despite that to meet the deadline. The career staff are not just pros, but superstars,” he said in an interview last month.