In response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision, and in the absence of federal climate legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun regulating GHGs under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Starting in 2011, all new power plants and existing plants undergoing significant modification have been subject to GHG best available control technology permitting requirements. In April 2012, EPA issued proposed GHG new source performance standards (NSPS) for new sources, which were effective upon issuance and which require all new plants to achieve an emissions standard equivalent to that of a modern natural gas combined-cycle plant. On June 25, 2013, President Obama issued his administration’s Climate Action Plan
, which called for EPA to move forward with NSPS for existing or modified sources. A Presidential Memorandum
issued the same day provided a schedule for regulatory action: a reproposal of the new source NSPS by September 20, 2013; proposed NSPS for existing and modified sources by June 1, 2014; and final NSPS for existing and modified sources by June 1, 2015. Compliance would be required sometime after states submit implementation plans, which are due no later than June 30, 2016.
In addition to federal activity, there are also many state- and regionally-based programs addressing GHG emissions. For example, California has begun implementing the state’s economy-wide GHG emissions reductions program, which is designed to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 as required under state law A.B. 32. In addition, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a nine-state, power sector-only, carbon dioxide (CO2)-only cap-and-trade program designed to reduce GHG emissions 10 percent below 2005 levels by 2018. RGGI is based in the Northeast, and has been in operation since 2009. Other programs of note include the Western Climate Initiative.
To learn more about domestic activities addressing GHG emissions, visit: