The Clean Power Plan is a rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that will cut carbon pollution from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. It calls for states to reduce their carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Electricity generation and production remains the largest stationary source of carbon pollution in the U.S., not only contributing to climate change but also posing serious public health threats. The Clean Power Plan works on both the state and federal level to address these emissions
The CPP works under the collaborative federal-state framework of the Clean Air Act. States are best equipped to understand the needs of their cities, businesses and citizens and therefore are individually tasked with crafting plans to reach federally mandated goals.
At this point states are starting to develop their plans for bringing their existing power plants into compliance, whether through increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy commitments from the power sector, retirement of inefficient and dirty coal plants, or increased use of natural gas. By 2022, all 50 states will be expected to begin meeting the CPP’s standards.
It’s still too early to say for sure what Michigan’s compliance plan will look like, but Governor Snyder has championed increasing efficiency of energy use and introducing more renewables to Michigan’s energy generation mix. A recent study from the Institute for Energy Innovation found that a combination of energy efficiency and renewables is also the least-costly way to reduce CO2 emissions to CPP standards, and utilities like DTE have already started making headway in that direction.
The Ecology Center believes that Clean Power Plan is one of the most important next steps we can take in the fight against climate change, and is the largest action the United States has ever considered taking to reduce carbon emissions other than the EPA's greenhouse gas standards and fuel economy rules established for new cars and trucks. We are engaging the public in support of forward-moving action on the proposal, working to ensure that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Governor Snyder make strides towards development of a compliance plan.
A major part of our work lies in bringing to light the health benefits of cutting carbon pollution, and encouraging action based on that knowledge. The Ecology Center’s Health Leader’s Fellowship program is a unique effort that helps health professionals leverage their respected and trusted positions to advocate for institutional and policy change. Fellows learn about the impacts of environmental issues on human health and develop the critical civic engagement skills needed to illuminate these connections to the public and elected officials, highlighting the benefits of a strong Clean Power Plan. In addition, we have been working with our partners in the MI Air MI Health coalition to educate and advocate for strong implementation of the CPP standards.
Published on January 19, 2017