Public Support for Regulation of Power Plant Emissions Under the Clean Power Plan
Issues in Energy and Environmental Policy, No. 18, January 2015
10 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2015
Date Written: 2015
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched a major new greenhouse gas reduction initiative in June 2014 through the release of its proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants. Better known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), EPA outlined a proposal that would seek an overall reduction in emissions from existing electricity-generating facilities that would fall 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, with interim targets beginning in 2020. This built on existing federal regulatory strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and newly-proposed electricity generating facilities.
One unique dimension of the Clean Power Plan is its provision of significant latitude to individual states in crafting a plan to reach required emission reductions. The Plan provided a specific emission reduction target for each state, which ranged considerably across states and regions but collectively would achieve a national 30 percent reduction. It also offered a series of “building blocks” that could lead to reduced emissions and provided a wide range of policy options that individual states might consider in formulating a response.
The Plan has received intensive media coverage since its launch and an extended period of public engagement. This included a series of well-publicized public hearings around the nation and a formal public comment process that was so heavily engaged that its deadline was ultimately extended to December 1, 2014. EPA has begun to review these comments and is also meeting extensively with various stakeholders in preparing to issue a modified version by mid-2015. Many states have begun to explore possible responses, both individually and with regional partners, ranging from active consideration of policy options to litigation to attempt to reverse this federal initiative.
This significant climate policy initiative was included in the National Surveys on Energy and Environment for the first time in our Fall 2014 survey, placed into a larger instrument that explored other policy questions and ongoing analysis of public attitudes on climate change. We attempted to secure public views on the general merits of the Clean Power Plan as well as test support for a number of the more prominent policy options that states have been encouraged to consider in weighing compliance possibilities. Other important findings from the Fall 2014 survey will be presented in subsequent reports.
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