Is Politics at Play in EPA Clean Power Plan?

Michael Grunwald in Politico: “Environmentalists, journalists, administration officials and industry flacks have all hyped the Clean Power Plan as the strongest climate action in history, but the 1560-page text provides plenty of evidence for my case that it’s merely the fourth-strongest climate action of the Obama era. I found a few nuggets that were even weaker than I expected, including a remarkable footnote suggesting that states can do nothing to reduce emissions for nine years and still comply with the rule.”

“Still, I have to admit the overall plan is actually stronger than I expected yesterday, and much stronger than the toothless draft plan I ridiculed in May.”

“What matters are the changes to binding state targets, and those changes are not modest. They also have serious political implications.”

“Check out this excellent chart compiled by my colleague Alex Guillen. North Dakota would have been required to cut emissions just 10.6 percent to comply with the draft rule, the least of any state; it will have to cut emissions 44.9 percent to comply with the final rule, the most of any state except for similarly fossil-fueled Montana and South Dakota. Coal-rich Wyoming, Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana were also among the biggest losers in the revised plan. Meanwhile, the states that are already greening their grid—led by Washington, Oregon and New York—were the biggest winners in the final rule.”

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