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Last week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he had directed his agency to move forward with a proposed rulemaking to formally rescind the Clean Power Plan in its entirety. The Clean Power Plan is a sweeping regulation that sought significant and costly emissions reductions from the power generation sector as a whole. The Trump administration’s EPA is arguing that the legal justification for the Clean Power Plan was fatally flawed by establishing “outside the fence” regulatory obligations for power plants.
Due to the harsh financial impacts the plan would have had on energy-intensive industries, the PA Chamber was one of the lead parties on a 166-organization amicus brief submitted as part of the litigation that led to the nationwide stay (or suspension) of the CPP.
We are now seeking our members’ thoughts and input on the notice to rescind, along with any comments on possible paths forward with respect to a replacement rule. It should be noted that EPA is not proposing to rescind the endangerment finding for greenhouse gasses, meaning that the agency is still legally required to regulate greenhouse gasses in some fashion, if not the approach sought with the Clean Power Plan.
Also, on Sept. 28, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it was directing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take action on a rule that, as proposed, would require regional transmission operators, such as PJM, which manage wholesale power markets, to provide full cost recovery for power plants that can store 90 days or more of fuel on site, such as coal and nuclear power generation. DOE is justifying its actions with the notion that current wholesale market pricing constructs are not adequately valuing resilience and reliability attributes of such power plants.
Such a proposal would be a significant departure from current energy market structures, and such cost recovery would be borne by ratepayers. The PA Chamber is seeking immediate feedback on this issue. For more information on the Grid Resiliency Pricing rule, please click here.