Obama Unveils Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan, released early in August, sets the first-ever limits in the U.S. on carbon pollution from power plants.

The Clean Power Plan is designed as the President’s flagship policy to fight climate change.  The plan, issued under the authority of the Clean Air Act, seeks to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants.  The overall goal is to decrease emissions by 2030 to 32% below their 2005 levels.

The rule works by requiring states to make their own cuts — each state is given a different emissions reduction goal under the plan and will have various options for hitting its target.  The Administration’s plan is more ambitious than the proposed plan leaked last year.  Moreover, it is less dependent on natural gas as a means of reducing emissions.  The plan includes a Clean Energy Incentive Program which aims to promote the early development of renewables over emission releasing fuels.

The EPA claims that the plan will save the average American nearly $100 on their average annual electric bill – though those savings likely would be realized slowly in the build up to 2030.  The true benefit the agency claims will be to public health by cleaning the air.  Critics, however, claim that emissions cuts will drastically impact the U.S. GDP in a negative way.

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