On June 19, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted the "Affordable Clean Energy" rule to replace the Clean Power Plan. Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson believe this new plan fails to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act and the federal government's responsibility to protect air quality.
In August 2019, Washington joined 21 other states and seven cities in challenging the repeal of the Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Information on this page is being maintained in order to continue to inform the public of the reductions in carbon pollution Washington introduced in order to comply with the Clean Power Plan.
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.
On June 19, 2019, EPA adopted a rule titled the "Affordable Clean Energy" plan to replace the CPP.
Washington state's Clean Power Plan goals
Ecology was responsible for developing Washington's Clean Power Plan in partnership with the Washington 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.
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.