EPA Moves Ahead to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Power Plants

On March 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted its draft proposed rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. 

The rule is a major component of the president’s climate action plan announced last June, which also directed EPA to set emissions limits for new power plants. The president set a deadline of Sept. 20, 2013 for EPA to issue the limits on new power plants and to propose its existing power plant rule by June 1, 2014.   

For EPA to meet the June 1 deadline set by the White House, OIRA will need to complete its review of the rule in just 60 days. Given OIRA’s history of failing to complete reviews on schedule, it is uncertain whether the rule will clear OIRA before the deadline. However, when EPA sent its draft proposal for new power plants to OIRA last July, the office promptly completed its review in 80 days, and EPA posted its proposal online on Sept. 20.  Because it would reflect poorly on the president’s commitment to address climate change if this major piece of his plan is delayed, OIRA could very well clear the rule swiftly so that EPA is able to release the rule to the public by June 1.

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