This summer, the EPA is expected to finalize the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which seeks to assert federal power over states to overhaul out system of electric power. The CPP is a sweeping assertion of federal power over states to radically overhaul the entire system of electric power. One of the nation’s preeminent Constitutional scholars, Lawrence Tribe at Harvard Law School, denounced the CPP, stating, “frustration with congressional inaction cannot justify throwing the Constitution overboard to rescue this lawless EPA proposal."
The onerous regulations set such an impossible limit threshold for emissions that many coal-fired plants will be forced to retire, eliminating jobs at these plants and likely raising the price of electricity. EPA’s Integrated Planning Model (IPM), based on the budget proposed for Texas, projects the retirement of 24 of the 41 coal-fired units in Texas alone (reflecting 12,760 MWs of the 25,302 MW nameplate capacity of the Texas coal fleet).
The EPA proposes to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. Known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the EPA's proposed regulations set state-specific emissions limits based on the greenhouse-gas-emissions rate of each state’s electricity mix. The EPA estimates that its regulations will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions approximately 25% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 30% by 2030. Each state has interim targets it must meet beginning in 2020, and the EPA proposed that states use a combination of four “building blocks” to achieve the emissions reductions: (1) improving the efficiency (heat rate) of existing coal-fired power plants; (2) switching from coal-fired power by increasing the use and capacity factor, or efficiency, of natural-gas combined-cycle power plants; (3) using less carbon-intensive generating power, such as renewable energy or nuclear power; and (4) increasing demand-side energy-efficiency measures.
The EPA’s own regulatory analysis of the rule shows that while U.S. emissions will decrease it will have little impact on projected global warming. Former Obama Administration Assistant Secretary Charles McConnell said, at best, the CPP will reduce global temperature by only one one-hundredth of a degree Celsius. A study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce estimates the EPA’s new regulation will more than double Texas’s industrial electricity rates by 2030.