Inside Trump’s climate plan

Source: By Kelsey Tamborrino, Politico • Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2018

EPA’s plan to undo the Obama-era climate rule for coal-burning power plants is widely expected to include a far less stringent replacement rule, but the new climate proposal would also boost states’ latitude to write their own regulations for coal plants or pave a path for seeking permission to opt out, according to POLITICO’s review of a portion of the unpublished draft and a source who reviewed other sections of the document.

The draft offers the first look at the specifics of the Trump administration’s proposal to undo the Clean Power Plan since EPA released a broader notice that it would reconsider the rule in April, POLITICO’s Emily Holden reports. The White House Office of Management and Budget has reviewed the draft and sent it back to EPA this week, meaning the plan will likely be unveiled in the coming days. Legal experts say a replacement rule could stall a future president from quickly writing carbon regulations.

Under the new regulation, states would be allowed to write rules to make coal power plants more efficient, enabling them to burn less coal to produce the same amount of electricity. But critics say that could be bad for the planet by making it cost-effective for companies to run those plants more often, Emily reports. According to the draft, EPA intends to argue that the Obama administration’s rule illegally sought to regulate the broader power sector, beyond coal plants, and that the compliance costs would have been high and the climate benefits negligible.

Other details of the proposal include: 
— State plans could be in effect before 2025
— Coal plants upgrades could avoid triggering New Source Review requirements
— EPA expects the average power plant heat rate improvement would be 1-3 percent and cost $30 to $60 per kilowatt
— Retail electricity prices could be similar or somewhat higher than if EPA repealed the Clean Power Plan
— EPA would only count the domestic benefits of curbing greenhouse gas emissions
— In comparing costs and benefits of replacing the rule, EPA assumes states would have capped emissions and would not have used interstate trading — which would have decreased the expected costs of the Clean Power Plan