On June 2, 2014 the US EPA released the Clean Power Plan proposal – a first of its kind plan to address climate change by reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants. On average, the proposed plan was projected to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. As a result, the EPA estimated an associated reduction in particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25%.

The plan required each state that currently generates power from fossil fuels to achieve state-specific reductions ranging from as low as 11% to as high as 72%.  The variance was a function of emission reduction measures available per state.  EPA calculated the individual goals based upon improvements to heat rate of existing generators, greater use of natural gas, an increase in renewable energy and nuclear, and increased demand-side management programs – the latter having the intention of decreasing peak power demand by consumers.

States would have had the flexibility to achieve compliance how they best see fit, and could have partnered with other states to achieve the plans overall objective. However, in early 2016, the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan pending judicial review. In June of 2019, the US EPA repealed the Clean Power Plan, replacing it with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which itself was remanded in January of 2021.

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