UPDATE: WV could meet EPA proposed Clean Power Plan standards (PDF)
MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA— A West Virginia University law professor says that the proposed Environmental Protection Agency’s rules to regulate power plant emissions will have a disproportionate impact on coal-dependent regions of the country, such as West Virginia, but do provide some flexibility.
The proposed Clean Power Plan rules, issued by the EPA this summer, would regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.
“Using the authority granted under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is not an ideal solution,” said James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the WVU College of Law. “A legislative solution would likely have included measures to provide some relief to regions of the country that are hit particularly hard by the rules. EPA lacks the resources and authority to provide that relief.”
However, Van Nostrand pointed out, EPA’s Clean Power Plan gives states leeway in deciding how to meet the required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
“The EPA took into consideration each state’s existing power generation characteristics in developing emissions reductions targets,” he said. “As a result, West Virginia is required to achieve a 20 percent reduction in carbon intensity by 2030 from a 2012 baseline, which is a lower target than the 30 percent national target from a 2005 baseline.”
Van Nostrand notes that the options available to West Virginia to meet the 20 percent reduction goal included improving the operating efficiency of existing coal plants, integrating more renewable energy into the generating mix, and ramping up the energy efficiency programs offered by utilities.