EPA Clean Power Plan 111(d)

Clean Power Plan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule that would withdraw the Clean Power Plan Oct. 10, 2017.

Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Paul Sukut issued the following statement Oct. 10, 2017, following Pruitt’s announcement.

“Administrator Pruitt’s announcement today is a welcomed boost to our efforts to seek time and flexibility when it comes to developing a carbon management plan.

“As written, EPA’s Clean Power Plan would’ve had significant impacts on Basin Electric and our membership. Of the 13 states that were projected to be 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 – costs that would have been unfairly borne by our membership.

“While a step in the right direction, the EPA’s decision does not affect 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.

“Moving forward, it is Basin Electric’s stance that any new approach to regulating carbon dioxide be within the authority of the Clean Air Act; be based on demonstrated, cost-effective controls; provide electric co-ops long-term flexibility and certainty; and most importantly, maintain energy reliability and affordability for consumers at the end of the line.”

Background

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 This draft guidance document would be subject to public comment before being made final by EPA sometime in 2017.

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 CPP. Granted by a vote of 5-4, this Stay halted 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.

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

Clean Power Plan - Final rule reductions in carbon dioxide

Clean Power Plan US Map

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.

Energy-Producing States Coalition Industry Group Materials

Concern about reliability