EPA to relax deadlines in climate rule

EPA to relax deadlines in climate rule
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The Obama administration is poised to change some deadlines for states to comply with its climate rule for power plants when the regulation is made final.

According to a document posted Tuesday to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, administration officials are planning to unveil the final carbon reduction plan Monday, with the first deadline for states’ interim carbon goals pushed back.

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EnergyWire first reported on the document, which the EPA removed after the news service asked about it. The New York Times separately reported the same schedule for the regulation, citing people familiar with the changes.

Both that change, and pushing back the date for states to submit compliance plans, will come in an effort to allay the fears of some states and utilities who told the administration that the original deadlines are too disruptive.

The climate rule is the main pillar of Obama’s second-term push to fight climate change, and it is highly controversial among conservative states, congressional Republicans, the fossil fuel industry and others.

Each state will be required to cut the carbon emissions from its power sector by a specific amount that would add up to 30 percent by 2030 for the entire country.

But states are also assigned an interim carbon target. In the rule proposed last June, the EPA had envisioned the interim target’s compliance in 2020, but that will now be 2022.

States will also have until 2017 to submit compliance plans, a year later than first proposed.

The upcoming announcement will also set carbon emissions limits for newly-built coal-fired power plants, as proposed in 2013.

Additionally, the EPA will propose a template for how it will impose compliance plans upon states that do not want to implement the rules, or whose compliance plans are not sufficient.

EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison said the agency would not comment on the rule until the final version is finished.

— This story was updated at 10:10 a.m.