EPA Clean Power Plan 111(d)

Clean Power Plan

EPA released on August 3, 2015, draft final versions of:

  • New source performance standards (NSPS) for CO2 emissions from new generation sources that commence construction after January 8, 2014;
  • Existing source performance standards (ESPS) for CO2 emissions from sources in existence as of January 8, 2014; and
  • NSPS for CO2 emissions from sources in existence as of January 8, 2014, that undergo an NSR/PSD (new source review/prevention of significant deterioration) major modification.

In addition, EPA planned release of its draft model federal implementation plan (FIP) as a guidance document for states to use in putting together their state implementation plans (SIPs). This draft guidance document would be subject to public comment before being made final by EPA sometime in 2017.

On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Basin Electric and several other petitioners' Motion to Stay the CPP. Granted by a vote of 5-4, this Stay halts implementation of the rule until litigation is concluded.

Oral arguments on the CPP’s legality were originally scheduled for June 2, 2016, with a three-judge panel from the District of Columbia (D.C.) Court of Appeals. On May 16, 2016, Basin Electric was notified that the hearing would instead be heard “en banc” (French for “in bench”) on Sept. 27, 2016, before 10 judges of the 11-judge D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. A decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected in early 2017.

On March 28, 2017, Pres. Donald Trump signed an executive order directing EPA to review the CPP, and establishing a process to repeal or revise the rule. The order is the first step in a lengthy process that will require a full rulemaking, including development of a draft proposal, opportunity for public input, and response to that input.

After consideration of Trump’s executive order, and EPA’s motion to hold the case in abeyance, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals removed the NSPS oral argument from the oral argument calendar.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sent letters to state governors March 30, 2017, advising them that they are under no obligation to adhere to the CPP rule.

Our statement

Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Paul Sukut issued the following statement March 28, 2017, on President Trump’s executive order on the Clean Power Plan (CPP):

“President Trump’s announcement today is a positive step forward in our efforts to seek time and flexibility when it comes to developing a carbon management plan, hopefully, in the context of a national energy policy.

“EPA’s Clean Power Plan would have significant impacts on Basin Electric and our membership. Of the 13 states hit the hardest by this rule, eight are in Basin Electric’s service territory. Financially, Basin Electric would have to spend billions of dollars to comply. These dollars would simply cover adding new generation and potentially impact the operations of our existing facilities. This does not even include the expense of additional electric, gas or transmission infrastructure to support the new generation required to meet the proposed mandates of the CPP. These costs would be unfairly borne by our membership.

“Over the last decade, Basin Electric and our membership have taken a leadership role in the development of renewable generation. We’ve added more than 1,500 megawatts of wind generation to our system (which represents approximately 23 percent of our generation capacity), invested more than $1 billion in natural gas generation resources and have invested more than $1.6 billion in emissions control technology to make our already clean generation fleet even cleaner. Even more, our Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant is home to North America’s largest carbon capture and sequestration project – capturing more than 30 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Our most recent project to add urea production to the Synfuels Plant continues that tradition by capturing CO2 to make urea and a liquid CO2 product. It’s important to note that the CPP, as proposed, did not allow Basin Electric credit for our current investments in natural gas generation or renewables, nor our carbon sequestration efforts through Dakota Gas.

“President Trump’s action today does not, however, impact Basin Electric’s efforts to seek a viable path forward in a carbon constrained future. We are actively seeking solutions that reduce our carbon footprint while keeping coal as part of our energy portfolio, preserving both the reliability and cost competitiveness of our members energy supply. In addition to our wind and natural gas investments, we are actively working to advance clean coal technology. Examples include hosting the Integrated Test Center at our Dry Fork Station, Gillette, WY, and our investments in research, most recently, in the development of a high efficiency power generation technology that generates high quality CO2 as a product stream, along with participation in DOE’s CarbonSAFE program to further the science of CO2 sequestration in saline aquifers.”

In November 2015, utilities across the country, including Basin Electric, filed a Motion to Stay with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was denied. On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Basin Electric and several other petitioners' Motion to Stay the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, giving the current administration time to review the rule and issue today’s executive order.

Clean Power Plan - Final rule reductions in carbon dioxide

Clean Power Plan final rule map of United States

State by state rankings of CO2 reduction

State % reduction
South Dakota -48%
Montana -47%
North Dakota -45%
Wyoming -44%
Kansas -44%
Illinois -44%
Iowa -42%
Wisconsin -41%
Kentucky -41%
Colorado -40%
Minnesota -40%
Nebraska -40%

Energy-Producing States Coalition Industry Group

In early 2014, a group of state environmental agency officials from states that have a stake in coal-based generation met in North Dakota for an Energy-Producing States Summit. This meeting provided an opportunity for those state officials to discuss the potential impacts of the EPA's proposed 111(d) regulations of the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

As a result of these conversations, an Energy-Producing States Coalition of state environmental officers formed to provide EPA with a perspective that differs considerably from that of state coalitions on the east and west coasts. In tandem to the state agency coalition, an energy-producing states group of industry representatives also formed to share perspectives regarding the impacts of the proposed CPP on industry.

Ongoing discussions among the industry representatives cover a wide variety of perspectives. The efforts of the industry group had been focused towards developing consensus on general issues that multiple states could include in their comments to EPA on the proposed CPP.

Industry representatives have been sharing information with each other as a result of the industry group of the Energy-Producing States Coalition and you will find links to shared documents below.

Media contact

Curt Pearson
Director of Media and Community Relations
701.223.0441 or 701.557.5605

Or use our Contact Form

Concern about reliability

U.S. FERC Commissioner Tony Clark, in a statement released Aug. 3, 2015:

“Whatever EPA believes are the environmental benefits of this regulation, it cannot be said that it will be easy or inexpensive. Such is the stuff of unicorns and leprechauns. … EPA’s new regulation is undeniably an enormous task for the people who actually plan, finance, construct, operate and regulate this complex US power system. Though EPA officials are writing these regulations, EPA officials are not responsible for ensuring reliable, affordable power. That task falls to America’s utility regulators, engineers, and operators. I am concerned there is an assumption that these dedicated experts will get the job done simply because they always have before. They are the best in the world, but no one should think reliability and affordability are slam dunks, lest we deny the science of electrical engineering. Make no mistake, this work is extraordinarily difficult and it will be even more so should this regulation come to pass."