EPA to Delay U.S. Carbon Rule for Power Plants Until Summer

(Bloomberg) — The Environmental Protection Agency said it

will delay carbon rules for power plants, missing a deadline set

by President Barack Obama in one of the centerpieces of his

climate-change agenda.

Janet McCabe, the EPA’s top official for air pollution,

said the agency will miss this week’s legal deadline to issue a

final rule for new power plants. A more contentious rule to cut

emission from modified or existing plants will come out “mid-summer,” and not as scheduled in early June, she said.

“These rules are a suite of rules affecting an industry,

and we wanted to address those at the same time,” McCabe told

reporters on a conference call today.

The first U.S. carbon rules are a key part of Obama’s bid

to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, while stopping them are a top

priority on the Republicans congressional energy agenda this

year. A coal-industry group called the announcement a sign Obama

will “go at it alone” to “fulfill a misguided presidential

legacy.”

“The administration is doubling down on its climate

crusade at the expense of our economy and our people,” Mike

Duncan, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal

Electricity, said in a statement.

Emission Cuts

Power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. emissions, and

coal, which is burned to produce almost 40 percent of the

nation’s electricity, releases the most carbon dioxide for every

kilowatt generated. The EPA’s carbon plan would discourage the

use of coal, and boost natural gas, renewable energy or energy

efficiency. EPA’s plan would force states to cut power-industry

emissions by 30 percent in 2030 from 2005 levels.

The delay in issuing the rule for new plants, which would

prohibit building coal plants that lack expensive carbon-capture

technology, comes after industry groups said it would

essentially outlaw new coal facilities.

McCabe said today that the EPA had identified issues that

needed to be addressed together in rules for new and existing

sources, and that justified the delay. Environmental groups,

which have criticized EPA delays in issuing ozone and coal-ash

rules, had anticipated the delay and didn’t complain.

“It’s full speed ahead for the Clean Power Plan, which

will deliver America’s first-ever limits on power plant carbon

pollution, the main culprit fueling dangerous climate change,”

David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at

the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

McCabe said the EPA will draft an implementation plan for

states that fail to come up with their own way to meet targets

set by the agency. The plan will come out this summer, she said.

“We look forward with this groundbreaking standard and its

commitment to ready a model federal plan for states who fail to

submit their own plan,” Michael Brune, executive director of

the Sierra Club, said today in a statement.

(A previous headline on this story was corrected to reflect

a change in timing of the release.)

To contact the reporter on this story:

Mark Drajem in Washington at

mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Jon Morgan at

jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

Steve Geimann

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