The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan Proposal: An Overview

On June 2, 2014, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set forth an initiative entitled: The Clean Power Plan Proposal. The strategy behind the plan is to significantly decrease carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants. Supported by most Federal, state and local governments, key recommendations outlined in the proposal are beginning to take shape throughout the nation. For the EPA’s goals to be accomplished, however, the commitment of corporate America as well as private citizens will also be required. This proposal contains provisions to develop a financially feasible and viable energy system, as it reduces dangerous pollution caused by hundreds of millions of tons of carbon, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, chemicals and other toxins.

Prior to issuing its plan, the EPA reviewed input from hundreds of groups, representing a cross section the USA’s population, among them: environmentalists, labor unions, industrial representatives and consumers. In formulating the plan, the EPA incorporated parameters that include a two-to-three year window during which each state is charged with developing platforms and programs to support energy efficiency and sustainability efforts. The states have the flexibility to work independently or in conjunction with each other to create an agenda and set their environmental objectives. The full implementation of those goals must be accomplished within fifteen years. Among the EPA’s recommendations designed to assist states in achieving long-term goals are:

  • Creating and/or enhancing energy conservation programs
  • Initiating renewable energy standards
  • Increasing renewable energy resources (wind and solar)
  • Building new natural gas combined cycle plants
  • Improving efficiency at all power plants
  • Advancing transmission efficiency
  • Facilitating the transfer to natural gas
  • Developing energy storage technologies

The EPA believes that by giving states flexibility regarding the development and implementation of programs and incentives required to drive innovative energy research, investments and sustainability options, they can ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for present and future generations.

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