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Trump Administration Publishes Proposed Regulation to Replace Clean Power Plan

Last month, the Trump Administration unveiled a proposed rule, called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which is intended to replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  The rule, which is a significantly scaled down version of the CPP, addresses what are called “inside the fence line” emissions requirements, focusing narrowly on existing coal-fired power plants.  Within three years, states must develop and submit to EPA for approval technology-based plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants by improving their efficiency.  States would have flexibility in determining actual limits. 

The proposed ACE does not include biomass as part of the Best System of Emissions Reduction (BSER), citing cost and other issues. It does, however, discuss co-firing biomass as a way for a coal-fired utility to offset emissions and comply with emissions reductions. This optional compliance mechanism could vary by location as EPA recognizes that co-firing with biomass fuel is only economically cost-effective and environmentally-feasible in certain states and regions of the country. Under the rule, the state determines whether it will allow biomass to be used as a compliance mechanism.

EPA has scheduled a hearing on October 1, with comments due by October 31.  It is likely that previous supporters of the CPP, including NGO groups and a number of states, will challenge the proposed rule in the courts, delaying implementation significantly.  CPA is continuing to evaluate the proposed rule for future comment.  See Proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule.  More Info: Jackson Morrill

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