On January 21, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) won an initial victory as the D.C. Circuit refused to grant opponents a stay of the Clean Power Plan (CPP or Rule).
The Rule, promulgated pursuant to section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), limits carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel fired electric generating plants (generating units). The CPP’s goal is to cut emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, and each state is provided an emissions reduction target. Qualifying state emissions reductions under the Rule generally prompt the retirement of coal plants and the greater adoption of natural gas and renewable resources. States must submit their implementation plans (SIP) in 2016 demonstrating that they will achieve the requisite emissions reduction by 2022, or request a two-year extension. However, if a state fails to submit an adequate implementation plan by the 2016 due date or request an extension for plan development until 2018, U.S. EPA will assign a federal implementation plan (FIP) that will enable that state to meet its emissions reduction target.