June 2, 2014

Environmental Alert: EPA Announces Proposed Rule Aimed at Significantly Reducing Carbon Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today its Clean Power Plan proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions from the nation's power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Acting under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, EPA's proposal would impose a federal carbon emissions rate (stated in pounds of carbon emitted per megawatt-hour of electric energy generated) for each state. EPA would set each state's limit based on a case-by-case evaluation of each state's portfolio of generation resources and EPA's evaluation of its opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. However, states will have the flexibility to determine how to meet the set limits. States will be free, on their own or in collaboration with other states, to design a program to achieve those rates in a way that makes the most sense for their unique situation. Each state's solution could combine diverse fuels, energy efficiency, and demand-side management.

This proposal is a key element of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, aimed at curbing emissions from the power sector which, according to the EPA, is responsible for 40 percent of the United States' carbon dioxide emissions. Further, it will reduce pollutants such as soot and lead by approximately 25 percent. In announcing the Climate Action Plan, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy discussed how emissions limits are critical for improving human health (1 in 10 children in the United States currently suffer from asthma) and to address risks posed by global climate change. McCarthy outlined that not only will rising temperatures cause more smog, asthma, and longer allergy seasons, but extreme weather events will impact economic productivity, raise insurance premiums, and threaten jobs.

The rule is now out for public comment through the summer, with EPA projecting a final rule by June 2015. However, given that this proposed rule directly impacts the nation's coal industry, legal challenges will likely be quickly mounted by coal companies and other power generators opposed to this climate-oriented regulation.

For more information regarding how EPA's Clean Power Plan may impact your industry, please contact Anthony Buxton, David Van Slyke, or Todd Griset in Preti Flaherty's Climate Strategy, Energy, and Environmental groups, at 791-3000.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Environmental Alert: Supreme Court Finds CERCLA Does Not Bar State Law Claims

The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday issued a decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts with far-reaching implications for targets of federal environmental enforcement actions. The Court in Atlantic Richfield Co. v...

Publication

Preti Flaherty COVID-19 Resources

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Preti Flaherty's attorneys have maintained a constant stream of the most up-to-date information and resources for our clients, business partners, and others struggling to navigate these complex...

Publication

Supreme Court Finds Clean Water Act Jurisdiction For Discharges To Groundwater

Today, in a 6-3 opinion, the Supreme Court held that a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit can be required for discharges to groundwater “if the addition of the pollutants through groundwater is the functional...

News

Preti Flaherty Welcomes Attorneys James W. Beers, Jr., and Alan E. Topalian to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce the arrival of two new attorneys: James W. Beers, Jr., and Alan E. Topalian. James joins the Environmental Practice Group as a Director and will work from the...

Publication

EPA Announces Temporary Relaxation of Certain Environmental Compliance and Monitoring Obligations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Citing potential worker shortages and social distancing and travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, on Thursday, March 26, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would exercise enforcement discretion and temporarily...

News

Eighteen Preti Flaherty Attorneys Selected as Chambers USA Leaders in Their Field

Eighteen Preti Flaherty attorneys and five practice groups have been selected for inclusion in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business , the highly regarded directory of leading attorneys and...