Should a federal court vacate U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan or severely restrict the agency's authority under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, there are options for the next administration if it wants to pursue cutting greenhouse gases, says a new report.
The report — from the University of North Carolina School of Law Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics; the Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative; and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions — will be the subject of a webinar Thursday. The event is cast as an early look at the rapid market and regulatory changes occurring in the electricity sector.
"The EPA would retain the authority to address GHG emissions using other sections of the Clean Air Act, such as sections 108-110 (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) and Section 115 (international air pollution)," the report says.
Also, the next administration may want to weigh "whether and how to use the social cost of carbon in agency rulemakings in light of recent circuit court decisions upholding its use," the report says.
The report looks at six key areas of federal electricity policy and, for each area, identifies the decision points — in time or circumstances — that will force the next administration to make choices that shape the future of the grid. The other issues include federal regulation of electricity markets, nuclear energy and natural gas.
The EPA Region 7 office will host two webinars this week for environmental justice communities and organizations on the Clean Air Act and how it addresses pollution from electric generating units. Region 7 includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, as well as nine tribal nations.
The webinars will also discuss how the Clean Power Plan's Clean Energy Incentive Program fits into the framework of the CAA. The CEIP, which was included in the final Clean Power Plan, is designed to help states meet their goals under the plan by encouraging early investments in zero-emitting renewable energy generation and by removing barriers to investment in energy efficiency and solar measures in low-income communities.
Tomorrow, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America will host a briefing in Washington, D.C., to introduce reporters to incoming INGAA Chairwoman Diane Leopold. Leopold serves as president of Dominion Transmission Inc., the pipeline and storage unit of Dominion Resources, which has been expanding in response to plans by power generators in the states it serves to close aging or uneconomic coal-fired units in favor of new gas-fired generation needed to meet mandates to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
In case you missed it:
- EPA's top lawyer expressed confidence in the legality of the landmark climate rule. Avi Garbow, the agency's general counsel, said that EPA's "very, very robust" record and analysis of the rule would help carry the Clean Power Plan to legal victory (Greenwire, Oct. 7).
- David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Roger Martella, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP, break down the contentious issues being considered by the D.C. Circuit following arguments on the Clean Power Plan (E&ETV's OnPoint, Oct. 6).
- A close race for governor of North Carolina may determine whether the state shifts its position on the EPA Clean Power Plan. Appointments to the state Utilities Commission and a Department of Environmental Quality secretary spot are at stake (EnergyWire, Oct. 5).
- Virginia energy regulators and environmental groups grilled Dominion Resources about the high costs the company predicts in potential plans for complying with the Clean Power Plan (ClimateWire, Oct. 6).
- A new analysis found that congressional efforts to require federal agencies to consider biomass a carbon-neutral power source would lead to a major increase in carbon dioxide emissions that otherwise would be cut under the Clean Power Plan (E&ENews PM, Oct. 4).