Update on EPA’s Clean Power Plan Model Rules

By: Janet McCabe

States, cities, businesses, tribes, and other organizations across the country are taking important steps to cut carbon pollution from power plants. In fact, power plant carbon emissions in 2015 were almost 25 percent below 2005 levels. Our extensive public engagement highlighted this continued progress and helped us ensure that the Clean Power Plan (CPP) was in line with the transition that is under way in the electricity sector. Our outreach also made it clear that states were looking to the agency to continue providing support and tools, including the Model Rules, that would help them in developing or expanding programs and strategies to cut carbon pollution.

EPA proposed the Model Rules in August 2015 when we issued the final CPP.  The proposed Model Rules highlighted straightforward pathways to adopting a trading system, making it easy for states and power plants to use emissions trading to reduce carbon pollution. Today, we are withdrawing the draft Model Rules and accompanying draft documents from interagency review and are making working drafts of them available to the public. While these drafts are not final and we are not required to release them at this time, making them available now allows us to share our work to date and to respond to the states that have requested information prior to the end of the Administration. In a letter issued today, we have notified those 14 states about the information we are making available.

We believe that the work we have done so far may be useful at this time to the states, stakeholders and members of the public who are considering or are already implementing policies and programs that would cut carbon pollution from the power sector. These drafts may be especially helpful to states considering the use of emissions trading programs or the expansion of existing trading programs, since one of the chief areas of focus of the draft Model Rules is emissions trading.  Similarly, states interested in using or expanding energy efficiency programs might find the material presented in the Evaluation, Measurement & Verification document useful as well.

The documents we are posting today are still working drafts. They are not final documents, they are not signed by the Administrator and they will not be published in the Federal Register. EPA’s docket will remain open, with the potential for completing the agency’s work on these materials and finalizing them at a later date.