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Special Issue of ELR Dedicated to EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Any major new EPA rulemaking is bound to be controversial, and the proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) is no exception. ELI has devoted the entire December 2014 issue of its Environmental Law Reporter (ELR) to the debate.

On June 18, 2014, EPA officially proposed the CPP—a rule that aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants. The proposal was developed pursuant to §111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), a section of the law for which there is limited regulatory precedent and no direct judicial decisions interpreting the statutory language. This lack of regulatory and judicial precedent, combined with broad language included in §111, raises a number of important legal, economic, technical, and political questions as the EPA seeks cost-effective and legally sound options for addressing electricity sector CO2 emissions. ELI and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions co-hosted an expert workshop in Washington, D.C., on July 14, 2014, to explore in detail EPA’s proposed rule and the legal issues it presents.

The special issue of ELR expands on the major issues explored during the July 14 workshop. The articles:

  • Provide an historical perspective on CAA §111(d);
  • Offer perspectives on interpreting Clean Air Act §111(d) and the legal issues raised by EPA’s proposed CPP; and
  • Discuss potential compliance strategies, including regional strategies and strategies that take into account additional risks facing the electricity sector.

This special edition, available as a free download, supplements articles arising out of the workshop with the transcript of a panel discussion organized by the Federalist Society titled “The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Plan: The CAA §111(d) Framework That Preserves States’ Rights.” Together, these articles offer diverse perspectives on some of the most pressing issues presented by the effort to regulate CO2 emissions under the CAA.

“The CCP will establish the first nationwide limits on carbon pollution from our largest source of climate-destabilizing emissions, and will secure urgently-needed health protections for all Americans.  As discussed in our article, the CPP also rests on a solid legal foundation—and its flexible, practical, and cost-effective framework builds on and reflects the various strategies now being deployed by many states and power companies around the country to reduce harmful emissions.  We greatly appreciate ELI’s efforts to foster dialogue on legal and technical issues relating to this vital step forward for our country, through this edition of ELR and in many other forums.” – Tomás Carbonell, Senior Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund.