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EPA's Clean Power Plan

In order to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan has set forth customized carbon dioxide reduction goals for states and gives the states flexibility in how to achieve their respective goals. For Rhode Island, our 2030 state rate-based goal is 771 lb/MW-hr and our 2030 mass-based goal is 3,584,016 short tons for Existing and New Source Complement. States are required to submit an initial State Plan or an initial submittal with a request for an extension by September 6, 2016 to demonstrate compliance with the CPP. If an extension is approved, the final State Plan is due by September 6, 2018. The compliance period begins in January of 2022. As discussed in Rhode Island's comment letter to EPA, the State is anticipating to satisfy our CPP compliance obligation by submitting a multi-state plan based on our continued participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). As part of the CPP State Plan requirements, stakeholder participation is a critical component of the process and as a RGGI participating state, Rhode Island has begun its stakeholder outreach. This outreach will occur through both RGGI wide stakeholder meetings as well as a State-specific community workshop. Refer to RGGI website for regional stakeholder meeting schedule. A State-specific community workshop is scheduled for March 11, 2016 refer to Public Notice.

Update - On February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to stay the Clean Power Plan. What does this mean?

Agencies of the U.S. government make regulations to implement acts of Congress - such as EPA's Clean Power Plan which seeks to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants, under the Clean Air Act. Sometimes plaintiffs challenge the legality of such a regulation, arguing the agency exceeded what Congress intended - as plaintiffs have done in this case. Occasionally, plaintiffs ask the courts to put the regulation on hold until the courts have fully considered their lawsuit - arguing they'll otherwise suffer irreparable harm while awaiting a ruling. The result is to 'stay' until the courts have fully considered its legality. When might that be? The D.C. Circuit's Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments for June 2, 2016 so a ruling from that court could be late 2016 or early 2017. The Supreme Court might then hear an appeal sometime in 2017. It is important to note that the Supreme Court's stay is not a decision on the merits of the plan.

How will this affect Rhode Island? Our state has been a participating member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) since 2007. The RGGI states have been leading the nation in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. RGGI states have reduced power sector carbon pollution by more than 40 percent from 2005-2014 while reducing energy bills, creating jobs and preserving electricity system reliability. The RGGI states will continue to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the RGGI states are already moving forward with the 2016 Program Review and expect to develop a CPP compliance strategy in accordance with the CPP's schedule - refer to RGGI page for further details.


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