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Draft rule reduction: 34.2% (624 lbs CO2 / MWh)

Editor's note: The following summary represents state and utility stances after the Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan in February 2016.

Gov. Scott Walker (R) issued an executive order Feb. 15 that prohibits state agencies, departments, boards, commissions or any of their agents from developing or promoting the development of a state plan to comply with the Clean Power Plan until the expiration of the Supreme Court’s Feb. 9 stay of the U.S. EPA rule.

“Clearly, this rule exceeds the President’s authority and would place an undue burden on the Wisconsin ratepayers and manufacturers,” Walker said.

“The stay granted last week by the Supreme Court validates our concerns about this rule. The executive order we issued today protects our taxpayers from an unnecessary cost of up to $13 billion as we continue to act in the best interests of Wisconsin citizens,” he said.

Walker has never been a fan of the Clean Power Plan, but when the final version tightened the state's 2030 target, the then-presidential candidate cried foul.

"We will examine the final plan in detail, but clearly Wisconsin's extensive, constructive comments to the EPA have fallen on deaf ears in Washington," he said.

Wisconsin is challenging the rule in court and has an executive order prohibiting planning.

Marcus Hawkins, a senior engineer for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, said in April that the executive order was narrow, and Wisconsin is still monitoring transmission planning by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a grid organizer.

"We encouraged MISO in their transmission planning processes to look at a more generic carbon-reduction future instead of a very detailed CPP-rule-like future where the rule and the makeup of the rule could change, let alone the timeline of the rule," he said (ClimateWire, April 27).

Wisconsin must meet a tougher emissions rate by 2030 -- 1,176 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hours of power, compared to 1,203 pounds CO2/MWh in the proposed rule.

Before the stay, Walker had said his administration would not put forward a compliance plan for the power plant rule, joining a small but vocal band of Republican governors who embraced the "just say no" strategy. Walker also has proposed slashing state funding for renewable energy and has not said whether he believes man-made CO2 emissions are contributing to climate change.

Wisconsin was among 27 states that filed a lawsuit challenging the rule when it was published in the Federal Register.

Earlier, Attorney General Brad Schimel (R) joined 15 other state attorneys general in asking a federal judge to postpone the rule while challenges make their way through the courts.

"Each state has a unique set of resources and needs, and no one knows the intricacies of each state's system better than each individual state," Schimel said.

EPA's systemwide approach to carbon regulation would wrest control from the states, undermining utilities' ability to meet demand inexpensively, he said.

Wisconsin, which skews toward coal-fired generation, would have to either shutter substantial capacity or ramp up renewable energy and efficiency to comply. The state has a 10 percent renewable portfolio standard, but that lags behind some others in the region, including Minnesota's 25 percent by 2025 mandate.

Despite opposition by Walker, Schimel and other Wisconsin Republicans, a report released in August by the Union of Concerned Scientists contended that the state is "making good progress" toward its goals (ClimateWire, Aug. 14, 2015).

And in September, the League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Defense Action Fund launched an ad campaign targeting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) for his opposition to the rule in Congress, contending that the stance was at odds with Wisconsin voters' support of the rule.

Last updated on February 2, 2017 at 11:59 AM

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