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EPA to Replace Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken its first step to replace the controversial Clean Power Plan (CPP) that limits greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants—a move the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has advocated for to provide regulatory and cost certainty for electric cooperatives.

“We are pleased that the EPA has taken this necessary step to replace the Clean Power Plan,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “America’s electric cooperatives support the development of a common-sense, durable policy that is focused on improvements that are specific to each electric-generating unit. This approach is consistent with decades of policy precedent and would produce greater regulatory certainty for electric cooperatives and their members.”

The EPA on Dec. 18 released “a notice of proposed rulemaking” to receive public input on what a rule to replace the Clean Power Plan should do. Comments will be due 60 days after this notice is published in the Federal Register. Sometime after considering the comments, the agency is expected to propose a replacement rule for further comment.

“At its core, the replacement regulation should maintain electric reliability and minimize the economic impact on consumers,” said Matheson. “We look forward to working with the EPA on a rulemaking that achieves these critical goals.” The NRECA testified before the EPA at a field hearing Nov. 28, urging the agency to act quickly to replace the current rule with a more flexible “common-sense” regulation that ensures affordable, reliable power for electric co-op members.

The NRECA has been concerned that the current CPP would force the premature retirement of many fossil-fuel generating units.

President Trump in March directed the EPA to review the rule and determine whether it met certain energy and economic goals that allowed for coal-based generation among other things.

 Cathy Cash is a staff writer at NRECA.

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