Cities Support Federal Action to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Press Release
Press Release

Last week, President Obama announced first-ever national standards to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. The Clean Power Plan sets state-specific carbon emissions reduction goals, letting the states develop and implement their own plan for meeting the goal. Once fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

In a statement, NLC President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah said, "We are glad the administration has unveiled an initiative to act aggressively on climate change. For years cities have been on the front lines dealing with climate change - from rising sea levels and wildfires to heat waves and flooding - and city leaders have been taking action on their own to improve energy efficiency, adopt renewable energy programs and improve the resiliency of their communities. We continue to urge the federal government take action to support cities and towns and make a strong commitment to an international climate agreement."

Under the rule, states will have broad flexibilities to develop the strategies and solutions for meeting the state goals, including making fossil fuel power plants more efficient, increasing low carbon power sources, and increasing renewable energy generation. Among the implementation options for states is the ability to develop multi-state approaches and to establish market-based trading programs, such as already underway in California and New England/Mid-Atlantic.

State Implementation Timeline

States will be required to submit a final implementation plan, or an initial submittal with an extension request, by September 6, 2016. Final complete state implementation plans must be submitted no later than September 6, 2018. States have until 2022, two years longer than under the proposed rule, to meet their interim reduction goal.

As states are developing their plans, it is important that local governments have the opportunity to provide input and participate in the decision making. EPA is requiring that states demonstrate how they are actively engaging with communities, particularly low-income and minority communities, as part of their public participation process in the formulation of state implementation plans.

Local Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs

Local governments will have a key role to play in meeting the state goals through their energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The administration expects solar, wind and other renewable sources to account for 28 percent of the country's generating capacity, an increase from 22 percent in the proposed rule. The president also noted in his announcement that one of the most promising compliance options available for states under the rule is increasing their energy efficiency.

With the creation of the Clean Energy Incentive Program, states are encouraged to make early investments in renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency programs in low-income communities.

The announcement of the Clean Power Plan comes as NLC sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid urging Congress to support U.S. leadership towards a United Nations climate agreement. NLC will lead a delegation of city officials to the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP-21) meeting in Paris in December.

Upcoming Webinar

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, EPA will host a webinar for local governments that will focus on what communities need to know about the Clean Power Plan.

Webinar Details:
Date: September 9, 2015
Time: 1:00-2:30 pm EDT
*Meeting Link: Clean Power Plan for Communities
Participant Number: 1-800-309-5450
Conference ID: 3084962

*Pre-Registration is not required for this webinar. Materials from this webinar will be posted on the Clean Power Plan Community website afterward.