Indiana joined 14 other states in asking President Obama to reconsider the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which contains a trio of rules for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. See 79 Fed. Reg. 34,830 (June 18, 2014). A copy of the Sept. 9, 2014, letter can be viewed here. As Taft reported in a recent article, on June 18, 2014, Indiana joined 11 other states in filing a lawsuit to challenge the EPA’s legal authority to implement the Clean Power Plan. Governor Pence’s letter focuses on the practical implications of implementing the plan, including heightened consideration of infrastructure investment, potential disruption to reliable electricity and potential road-blocks to wind and solar farms posed by the competing interests of the Endangered Species Act.
Indiana and the other states that signed this letter have significant concerns about the legality and practicality of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. According to the EPA’s own calculations, the proposed rule will have a negligible impact on global climate change and the amount of carbon dioxide in the environment. However, compliance costs are significant, especially for states like Indiana that rely on coal for 80% of their generation and have a significant number of coal-related jobs. The Clean Power Plan does not actually regulate emissions from power plants; rather, it requires states to find ways to reduce emissions through decreasing energy demand, changing the dispatch order of power plants and increasing generation from nuclear plants and renewable energy. Most state environmental regulators lack the authority to regulate in these areas, and there are significant practical hurdles to using each of these methods to actually decrease carbon dioxide emissions. These actions are only the first wave of legal and political challenges to the EPA’s proposed carbon regulations.