EPA to Cut Emissions Limits for U.S. Power Plants

ICLEI congratulates the Obama Administration on the 2014 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Carbon Regulations to propose emissions cuts for Power plants. The EPA will impose new regulations to cut carbon emissions from Power Plants in the U.S. to 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2020.

ICLEI USA has worked closely with local governments across the country for over 20 years helping to support policies and programs to reduce GHG emissions, and stands behind federal action to regulate power plant emissions acts to specifically support local action. In November 2013, ICLEI USA wrote a letter urging the EPA to stand by these efforts, providing specific commentary on the benefits of these regulations.

Since this announcement, many local elected officials from the ICLEI and RC4A networks have responded positively to this monumental news.

BobDixson_02“The proposed rule on Power-Plant regulation from EPA allows for more than just lowering CO2 emissions. The provisions for State involvement and conservation pieces are of extreme interest for Local Governments. As we continue to be environmental stewards, this proposed rule also takes into consideration the need for a vibrant economy.” – Greensburg, KS Mayor Bob Dixson


Becker_small“The flexible step announced today, carefully developed after many years of input and giving industry multiple options to reduce carbon emissions, uses Clean Air Act authority upheld time and again by the U.S. Supreme Court. The common sense regulations will serve to help our region and state address air pollution and the unparalleled risk to our wellbeing from climate disruption.” – Salt Lake City , UT Mayor Ralph Becker (see full commentary here)

Meeting GHG reduction targets without reducing “supply-side” GHG emission is extremely challenging for communities. Local governments throughout the country have been working hard to help finance energy retrofit projects and to educate communities about reducing energy consumption. Despite the success of these efforts in reducing demand-side GHG emission, meeting the target goals for GHG reductions is not possible without addressing supply-side of GHG emission.  A national pollution standard for power plants is a necessary part of an overall effort to achieve much deeper reductions in GHG emissions.

Increasing the potential for collaboration in identifying innovative and clean energy options Fossil fuel based energy sources, like coal are directly linked to extreme weather patterns and public health implications. Without any regulation, it will take a long time to encourage the utility companies to explore alternative energy options such as solar energy.  Correspondingly ICLEI USA believes that the EPA GHG reduction regulation will result in more effort by utility companies to look for innovative, renewable energy sources.  Consequently Federal level regulation would reduce the cost to local governments of exploring alternative local options.

Cities like Boulder, Colorado and San Jose, California have already implemented similar measures to reduce GHG emissions.  A local carbon tax is one supply side policy lever that a city use make real progress in reducing carbon emissions. In order to meet goals to curb emissions, these cities and others have realized it is critical to move away from carbon-intensive energy sources and focus on advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency on the local level. These initiatives are leading to supply side reductions and an increase in renewable energy in these cities.

ICLEI USA supports the EPA’s efforts to regulate GHG emissions from the power plants. The source of energy is the main factor determining the GHG intensity of emissions. Reducing the emission factor of energy will result in substantial reductions in GHG emissions. We believe that this regulation will assist communities in achieving deep GHG reductions, reducing the risk involved in local government initiatives in seeking alternative energy source, and promoting innovation in the energy market.