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EPA Starts Taking Comments on Clean Power Plan

A four-month public comment period on the federal government’s plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric power plants began this week, allowing anyone to submit feedback through Oct. 16.

A coal-fired power plant. Credit: Paul Jerry/flickr

Called the Clean Power Plan, the proposal is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to, by 2030, slash CO2 emissions from existing coal-fired and other power plants using fossil fuels by 30 percent below 2005 levels. The plan was published in the Federal Register this week, officially beginning the public comment period. 

The plan is controversial because it would require most states to control carbon emissions from their biggest and often most polluting sources of electricity. Each state has a unique CO2 emissions reduction goal based on its CO2 emissions rate, the renewable energy the state produces and consumes, and the efficiency of both its power plants and consumers’ use of electricity.

Part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, the Clean Power Plan is one of two major rules aiming to cut carbon emissions from power plants. A rule proposing to cap carbon emissions from future coal-fired power plants was unveiled in 2013.

The Clean Power Plan is scheduled to be finalized in 2015 after the EPA considers public comments it receives between now and Oct. 16.

The EPA has scheduled four public hearings on the Clean Power Plan in July in cities across the country: In Atlanta and Denver on July 29; Washington, D.C., on July 30 and Pittsburgh on July 31.

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