How Washington will achieve Clean Air Rule goals
Washington state is committed to doing its part to reduce carbon pollution while the federal Clean Power Plan is under review. The state's 2016 Clean Air Rule will limit the largest sources of carbon pollution in the state. The state rule will go beyond the EPA Clean Power Plan's limits and result in even more reductions of carbon pollution.
Overview of the federal Clean Power Plan
In August 2015, the EPA set the first ever greenhouse gas limits for the nation's existing power plants. The rule was part of an ambitious effort to demonstrate U.S. leadership on climate change, and to do the nation's part to meet our international commitment to reduce carbon pollution.
On Feb. 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in a 5-4 vote, to freeze the EPA's Clean Power Plan. The order responded to a request from several states, utilities, and other industry groups asking the high court to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out in a lower court.
On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan final rule and eliminate other federal initiatives addressing climate change. EPA announced that it started reviewing the final rule in April 2017. EPA also withdrew proposed rules related to the Clean Power Plan, including:
- The federal plan and model rules to implement the CPP.
- The Clean Energy Incentive Program to reward early reductions.
Washington state's Clean Power Plan goals
Even though the CPP is on hold, state's are still required to develop and submit implementation plans. Ecology will be responsible for developing Washington's Clean Power Plan in partnership with the Department of Commerce and the Utilities and Transportation Commission.
EPA’s Clean Power Plan rule would establish state-specific goals to reduce carbon dioxide pollution (CO2) from existing power plants. The goals are based on Washington’s unique mix of power sources and emissions, and could be met in several ways.
In 2015 and early 2016 we met with the public, representatives of vulnerable communities, owners of power plants, and the environmental community. We are tracking litigation on the CPP and following EPA’s efforts to review the rule.
Washington’s specific CO2 emissions goals for 2030 are:
- 983 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour.
- 10.7 million tons of CO2 per year.
To meet these goals we could:
- Make fossil fuel power plants more efficient.
- Use lower-emitting power sources.
- Expand renewable energy generation.
Washington’s CPP would need to show that the 11 affected power plants in Washington emit at or below the goals by 2030.