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Clean Power Plan

Regulatory Actions

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President Obama's Climate Action Plan

On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change and lead international efforts to address global climate change. As part of the Climate Action Plan, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the EPA to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for the power sector. You can learn more about the President's Climate Action plan on the White House web site.

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Developing carbon pollution standards for power plants under the Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act (CAA) lays out distinct approaches for new and existing sources under Section 111: a federal program for new sources and state programs for existing sources. EPA is using its authority under section 111 of the Act to issue standards, regulations or guidelines, as appropriate that address carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, including modifications of those plants.

In the CAA, Congress recognized that the opportunity to build emissions controls into the design of a stationary source is greater for new sources than existing sources, so it laid out different approaches to set the two types of standards:

  • Section 111(b) creates a federal program to establish standards for new, modified and reconstructed stationary sources.
  • Section 111(d) is a state based program for existing stationary sources where EPA establishes guidelines and the states then design programs to fit in those reductions to get the needed reductions.

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Regulatory actions for power plants

EPA finalized two rules under CAA Section 111 to reduce carbon pollution - or CO2 - from power plants and proposed a federal plan for the Clean Power Plan:

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