With all signals pointing to an imminent release of U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, what are the key issues to watch as the plan is rolled out as early as this Monday? On today's The Cutting Edge, ClimateWire reporter Emily Holden gives the background on E&E's discovery of a document signaling a delayed compliance timeline. She also previews potential changes to watch for in the final rule.
Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. Strong signals that EPA will release its final Clean Power Plan on Monday. ClimateWire's Emily Holden is here with the latest details and what we can expect from the rollout. Emily, E&E's been reporting all week that the plan could come out as early as Monday. We have some new details. What's the latest?
Emily Holden: We've heard from a couple of sources there could be a signing ceremony at the White House Monday at 10 a.m., and that's not confirmed by the administration, but it's pretty consistent with our reporting.
Monica Trauzzi: So we know some details on what to expect from the rollout. You and our colleague, Rod Kuckro, discovered a document that sheds some light on some specifics in terms of the timeline. The compliance period, according to this document, would be pushed to 2022. How significant of a shift is that?
Emily Holden: Right. So two years might not seem like a lot, but it could answer some calls from states and from energy companies that have said that the interim compliance period in the draft rule that would have started in 2020 would be too soon and that too much coal power would go offline, it would risk outages, electric price surges, that sort of thing. there's also the theory from lawyers that this could bolster EPA's legal defense because when they go to the courts and say, you know, when opponents say we don't have enough time to get this done, they'll have a couple extra years. There won't be as much justification for a stay, they argue. And that the changes also give a little bit more time to submit their plans, so they might have until 2016 to put in their initial plans and 2018 for their final ones.
Monica Trauzzi: I want to rewind to earlier this week. Take us behind the scenes of how you uncovered this document that gave you these new timeline details, because E&E was the first to have it.
Emily Holden: Right. So Tuesday afternoon, we got a tip from a source by email that there appeared to be a PowerPoint slide posted online by EPA that showed some of these changes, and that was under an EPA URL, but it wasn't easily accessible to the general public. When we contacted EPA, they took it down and they've since said that was a Web design mock-up that wasn't meant to be online.
Monica Trauzzi: So, of course, come Monday, if it does happen on Monday, the devil will be in the details. It's widely expected that there would be incentives built in for states who comply sooner than 2022. What are the key issues that you're going to have eyes on once that final plan comes out?
Emily Holden: We'll be focusing on the timeline changes and the other revisions and basically what they would mean for state goals, whether the goals will be harder or easier. We'll also want to know whether EPA gives any additional guidance to states on how they can work together and potentially trade compliance credits. That's something a lot of them have asked about, and we'll be looking to see whether the rule does any more to incentivize nuclear power or ensure grid reliability.
Monica Trauzzi: E&E's Power Plan Hub has been a critical resource for everyone who's been tracking the power plan. How can we expect that to be updated as the final rule comes out?
Emily Holden: Well, we have more than a dozen reporters who are diving into different portions of the rule next week, but we also have about 20 people who will be contacting states, and on top of that, we're going to have all the data you'll need on state goals. We'll have explainer pages on what the changes to the rule means, and then we'll also have summaries of state and company responses. And we encourage anyone who's working on this to reach out and email us at -- it's PowerPlanHub@eenews.net.
Monica Trauzzi: That's great. Thank you. And E&E TV will also have special coverage starting on Monday of the Clean Power Plan rollout. Thanks, Emily.
Emily Holden: Thank you.
Monica Trauzzi: More Cutting Edge coming next Friday. We'll see you then.
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