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State Implementation of the Clean Power Plan: Why It Matters to Industries Outside the Power Sector

November 2015

Citation: 45 ELR 11008

Issue: 11

Author: Robert B. McKinstry Jr. and Ronald M. Varnum

On August 3, 2015, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which establishes guidelines that states must apply to achieve reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired electric generating units. Organizations and companies outside of the utility sector have expressed concerns regarding the impacts of the CPP on electricity prices and reliability. However, the mechanism that states employ to achieve the reductions required under the CPP is likely to have a more profound impact on industry sectors outside of the utility sector in the long term than the relatively modest impacts of the CPP itself. The power industry is just the first of many industries that likely will become subject to greenhouse gas emissions standards for existing facilities under the Clean Air Act. And a state’s decision on how to implement the CPP for the power industry could constrain its ability to use other mechanisms for other industry sectors.

Robert B. McKinstry Jr. is a partner and Ronald M. Varnum is of counsel at Ballard Spahr LLP. Both practice in the firm’s Environment and Natural Resources Group. Mr. McKinstry also leads the firm’s Climate Change and Sustainability Initiative.

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