- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will extend the time period for public comments on its Clean Power Plan for 45 days beyond the original October 16 deadline to December 1, 2014, in response to a letter to EPA Head Gina McCarthy from 53 senators, including several Democrats up for re-election in November, asking for a longer feedback period.
- The draft regulation, released June 2, targets an overall 30% reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and asks each state to come up with necessary cuts by using cleaner coal, more natural gas, more renewables and nuclear, and/or more demand side efficiencies.
- The extension of the comment period is not expected to delay the EPA’s unveiling of a finalized rule by June 2015.
While there continues to be resistance to the EPA’s emissions regulations and to the reality of climate change, over 97% of climate scientists believe climate change is due to human activity, according to NASA. The most recent warnings from scientific panels suggest consequences could be severe and the time left to prevent such consequences is narrowing.
The Clean Power Plan is widely seen as a key element in President Obama’s second term legacy. His administration is expected to vigorously defend it against lawsuits being prepared by utilities, power producers, and fossil fuel-dependent industries which agree the plan asks for too much too soon.
But John Podesta, Special Counsel to the President on Climate Change and Energy Policy, told Utility Dive the EPA regulations were carefully written to stand up to legal challenges.
President Obama will present his administration's emissions reduction plan to world leaders at next week’s U.N. summit on climate change.