Georgetown Law
 

Clean Air Act

States and Power Companies Discuss Carbon Pollution Reduction Options with Federal Officials

The Georgetown Climate Center hosted a discussion October 28 among senior state, power company, and federal leaders about the development of carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.

The federal government is currently seeking input on potential paths forward as it develops standards under the Clean Air Act Sec. 111(d).  The Obama Administration has indicated it wants to build on the experiences of states and power companies, many of which are already achieving significant carbon pollution reductions.  The administration has also indicated it wants to provide states with flexibility in meeting the upcoming standards.

States and power company participants shared their experience and perspectives about key standard design issues throughout the meeting.

The new carbon pollution reduction effort is a key component of President Obama's climate action plan, which was unveiled in June at Georgetown University.  The Center hosted a similar discussion among power companies, states, and the federal government following President Obama's initial announcement.

President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to propose the new standard in the summer of 2014.

Below is the participants list, agenda, and a selection of photos from the meeting.

Participants | Agenda | Photos

 

Participants
 

States

  • Arkansas: Teresa Marks, Director, Department of Environmental Quality
  • California: Craig Segall, Staff Attorney, Air Resources Board
  • Colorado: Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs, Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Illinois: Doug Scott, Chair, Commerce Commission
  • Kentucky: John Lyons, Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy, Energy and Environment Cabinet
  • Massachusetts: Nancy Seidman, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection
  • Michigan: Mary Maupin, State Implementation Plan Supervisor, Department of Environmental Quality
  • Minnesota: Ellen Anderson, Senior Energy & Environment Advisor to Gov. Dayton
  • Missouri: Goldie Tompkins, Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor to Chair Robert Kenney, Public Service Commission
  • New York: Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy, Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Oregon, Jason Eisdorfer, Director, Utility Program, Public Utility Commission, and Uri Papish, Air Quality Program Operations Manager, Department of Environmental Quality


Power Companies

  • Arizona Public Service Commission: Charles Spell, Environmental Department Leader
  • Calpine: Yvonne McIntyre, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs
  • CPS Energy: Angela Rodriguez, Air Quality Manager
  • Dominion: Ann Loomis, Senior Advisor for Federal & Environmental Policy, and William Murray, Managing Director Public Policy & Senior Advisor for State and Local Government Affairs. 
  • Entergy: Jeff Williams, Director, Climate Consulting
  • Exelon: Amy Trojecki, Director of Environmental and Fuels Policy
  • National Grid: Robert Teetz, Vice President, Environmental Services (retired) and Cathy Waxman, Manager, Air Quality Compliance
  • NextEra Energy: Ray Butts, Director, Strategic & Regulatory Planning
  • PG&E: Melissa Lavinson, Vice President, Federal Affairs
  • Portland General Electric: Dave Robertson, Vice President of Public Policy & Sania Radcliffe, Director of Government Affairs
  • PSEG: Kristen Ludecke, Vice President, Federal Affairs
  • Seattle City Light: Lynn Best, Director, Environmental Affairs
  • Sempra Energy: Scott Crider, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs
  • Xcel Energy: Jack Ihle, Director, Environmental Policy

 

Federal Representatives

White House and White House Council on Environmental Quality

  • Dan Utech, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change, White House Domestic Policy Council
  • Drew McConville, Senior Advisor to the Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality


Environmental Protection Agency

  • Gina McCarthy, Administrator
  • Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation
  • Joseph Goffman, Senior Counsel to the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation
  • Mark Rupp, Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations
  • Sarah Dunham, Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs
  • Kevin Culligan, Associate Division Director, Sector Policies and Programs Division, Office of Air Quality and Planning and Standards
  • Alex Barron, Senior Advisor, Office of Policy
  • Julie Rosenberg, Branch Chief, State and Local Climate & Energy Programs
  • Jim Ketcham-Colwill, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Review
  • Christopher Sherry, Policy Analyst, Climate Change Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs
  • Brian Fisher, Policy Analyst, Clean Air Markets Division
  • Julia Miller, Policy Analyst, State Climate and Energy Program
  • Andrea Barbery, Detailee, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations


Department of Energy

  • Judi Greenwald, Deputy Director for Climate, Environment and Efficiency, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis
  • John Larsen, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Climate and Environmental Analysis
  • Erin Boyd, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
  • Aaron Bergman, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy and International Affairs

 

Georgetown Climate Center

  • Vicki Arroyo, Georgetown Climate Center Executive Director, and Assistant Dean and Environmental Program Director at Georgetown Law
  • Prof. Peter Byrne, Faculty Director and Associate Dean at Georgetown Law
  • Kate Zyla, Deputy Director
  • Gabe Pacyniak, Institute Associate
  • Lissa Lynch, Institute Associate

 

Agenda
 

9:00: Breakfast Available

9:30: Welcome and Overview

  • Welcome:  Peter Byrne, Associate Dean, J.D. Program, Georgetown Law, Faculty Director, Georgetown Climate Center
  • Overview of the Day: Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center, Asst. Dean, Centers & Institutes and Environmental Law Program Director, Georgetown Law

9:45 Context: President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

  • President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan: Dan Utech, Deputy Director for Energy and Climate Change, White House Domestic Policy Council

10:00: Discussion: How are states projecting and measuring emission reductions from specific strategies?

  • Moderator: Kate Zyla, Deputy Director, Georgetown Climate Center

Examples to begin discussion:

  • Kentucky’s Changes in Fossil Generation:  John Lyons, Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy,  Energy and Environment Cabinet
  • Colorado’s Increased Renewable Generation:  Martha Rudolph, Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • ISO New England’s Reductions from Energy Efficiency: Nancy Seidman, Assistant Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs

11:00: Coffee Break

11:15: Discussion: How can EPA articulate the emission guideline in a way that facilitates emission reductions that states are pursuing?

  • Moderator: Gabe Pacyniak, Institute Associate, Georgetown Climate Center, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law
  • Does either a rate-based approach or an emission budget approach make it easier to build on state programs and power company actions?
  • What other aspects of standard setting would help facilitate building on these state and firm actions?

12:15: Lunch

12:45: Featured Discussion with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

  • Moderator: Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center

1:30: Discussion: What compliance pathways are available for states?

  • Moderator: Gabe Pacyniak, Institute Associate, Georgetown Climate Center

Examples to begin discussion:

  • A rate-based compliance pathway: Ray Butts, Director, Strategic & Regulatory Planning
  • RGGI as a compliance pathway: Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy, New York Department of Environmental Conservation
  • A “state portfolio” approach: Craig Segall, Staff Attorney, California Air Resources Board
  • A “utility portfolio” approach: Jack Ihle, Director, Environmental Policy, Xcel Energy

3:15: Coffee Break

3:30: Discussion: How can EPA and others facilitate state plan development and interstate coordination?

  • Moderator: Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center

Examples to begin discussion:

  • Support for developing state plans: Ellen Anderson, Senior Energy & Environment Advisor to Gov. Dayton
  • Support for developing state plans: Jason Eisdorfer, Director, Utility Program, Oregon Public Utility Commission
  • Potential interstate issues in the Northwest: Lynn Best, Director, Environmental Affairs, Seattle City Light
  • Potential interstate issues in the PJM Region: Kristen Ludecke, Vice President, Federal Affairs, PSEG
  • Regional discussions in the Midwest: Doug Scott, Chair, Illinois Commerce Commission

4:15: Concluding Remarks

  • Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center

4:30: Meeting Adjourns & Reception

 

Photos

 

 

    

 

EPA Delays Proposal for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Petroleum Refineries

On Nov. 21, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will not meet a December 15, 2011, deadline to issue new regulations under the Clean Air Act limiting greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries. The deadline was imposed as part of a settlement agreement with several states and environmental groups in December 2010.  The agency says it needs more time to prepare new source performance standards and is in negotiations to set a new deadline. 

This announcement comes after a recent EPA decision to delay the release of its greenhouse gas performance standards for power plants, previously scheduled for September 30 (after a postponement of the original July 26 deadline earlier in the year).
 

D.C. Circuit Stays EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR)

On December 30, 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay against implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).  The CSAPR sets emissions budgets for 28 states whose emissions of SO2, NOx, and/or ozone currently represent a significant impediment to another state’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) attainment in an average year.  The rule was finalized by EPA on August 8, 2011, with technical revisions proposed on October 6, 2011, and was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2012.

The case in which the stay was issued, EME Homer City Generation LP v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11-1302, is one of more than three dozen lawsuits challenging the CSAPR.   Oral argument has not been scheduled, but the order indicates that the parties should prepare briefs for an April hearing.  The stay order does not address the underlying merits of the case, only the issue of irreparable harm.  Although the court did not spell out its reasoning, the plaintiffs had argued that the EPA’s six-month compliance timeline imposes a substantial and imminent injury. 

The CSAPR replaces the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which was struck down in North Carolina v. EPA on the grounds that CAIR’s region-wide cap-and-trade structure did not address the effects of emissions from each particular state on downwind states. (531 F.3d 896 (D.C. Cir. 2008)).  CSAPR seeks to address the defect in CAIR by placing strict limits on interstate trading of emissions allowances, along with other safeguards to ensure that upwind state emissions of SO2, NOx, and ozone do not significantly contribute to nonattainment of the NAAQS in a downwind state.

Under the August 8 CSAPR, Tradable emissions allowances are initially allocated under Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) to existing units in proportion to their historical heat input values, with a small portion set aside for new units.  States can replace these FIP allocations with State Implementation Plans (SIPs) beginning in 2013. 

EPA estimates that the CSAPR will reduce emissions of CO2 from electric generating units (EGUs) by about 25 million metric tons (about 1.1% of total domestic electricity sector emissions) annually once fully implemented in 2014, mostly via accelerating retirement of inefficient EGUs.  

States and Provinces Form North America 2050 Initiative to Coordinate on Climate Change and Clean Energy

A broad group of U.S. states and Canadian provinces have formed the North America 2050 Initiative (NA 2050) to facilitate efforts to design, promote and implement cost-effective policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create economic opportunities.

According to an article in BNA Daily Environment Report:

The forum grew out of an effort that began in 2009 when representatives of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the East, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), and the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (Midwest Accord) teamed up to share information, Doug Scott, former director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and representative to the Midwest Accord, told BNA Nov. 23. …  “There are a lot of reasons for states to work together on climate and energy policies,’’ Scott said. “The ability to promote energy efficiency and create jobs’’ is something all states can get behind. (North America 2050 Initiative Created For State Collaboration on Climate, Energy, BNA Daily Environment Report, Nov. 28, 2011) (subscription required).

All of the states that previously participated in regional organizations (the Western Climate Initiative, the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) that addressed climate change and energy issues are expected to continue working together through NA 2050. The initiative is open to all U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and Mexican states committed to policies that move their jurisdictions toward a low-carbon economy while creating jobs, enhancing energy independence and security, protecting public health and the environment, and demonstrating climate leadership. The Georgetown Climate Center is one of multiple organizations staffing this effort.

The goals of the initiative are to:

  • Coordinate efforts to design, promote and implement effective and cost-effective policies;
  • Advocate for the most appropriate roles for federal, state, and provincial governments;
  • Achieve meaningful emission reductions; and
  • Demonstrate the economic and job creation benefits of policies.

 

The initiative envisions the creation of seven work groups:

  • Benefits Working Group: Evaluating the benefits of policies and programs for moving to a low-carbon economy
  • Power Sector 2050 Working Group:  Understanding, influencing and preparing for section 111 Clean Air Act requirements for electricity generation
  • Industry 2050 Working Group: Developing benchmarking approaches to encourage industrial energy efficiency, beginning by understanding, influencing and preparing for section 111 Clean Air Act requirements for refineries
  • Sequestration Working Group:  Exploring regulatory, technical and policy issues surrounding carbon capture and sequestration
  • Sustainable Biomass Working Group:  Understanding and supporting the use of sustainably harvested biomass fuels which have the potential to displace high carbon fuels used by stationary and industrial sources
  • Offsets Working Group:  Participate in the development and implementation of high quality offsets that may be used in emissions trading programs or for other purposes
  • Linking Working Group: Work on issues related to administrative and policy linking of emissions trading programs  as needed in the future

 

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