The Competitive Enterprise Institute, along with 19 other signers, submitted comments today to the EPA on a component of the Clean Power Plan that is illegal. The Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) is a component of EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP)—the agency’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for existing fossil-fuel power plants on which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held oral argument on September 27.
“The CEIP makes EPA’s Clean Power Plan unlawful in a whole new way,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marlo Lewis. “Credit for early action was an issue of persistent controversy during 1997-2005, and understandably so, because it was a strategy to build the accounting framework and corporate clientele for cap-and-trade. The one thing all the experts eventually agreed on—including several organizations now supporting EPA’s Power Plan—is that no existing statute authorizes any agency to award or certify credits for ‘early’ greenhouse gas reductions.”
The CEIP has two main objectives—accelerate implementation of the CPP and ensure that the CPP’s aggressive CO2 reduction requirements “shift investment” into renewables rather than natural gas generation. To accomplish those objectives, the CEIP proposes to create a system of “early action crediting,” providing credits and allowances to utilities that complete CPP-qualifying renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects before the start of the compliance period.
The joint comment letter challenges the legality of the CEIP on both procedural and substantive grounds and can be viewed here.