EPA Proceeds With Clean Power Plan Incentives

Date: June 17, 2016

Measure Comes As Questions Remain About Legality Of EPA Regulation

Despite uncertainty about the legal grounds of its policies, the EPA is continuing its aggressive regulatory agenda by moving ahead with its Clean Energy Incentive Program. In its initial announcement of the Clean Energy Incentive Program, the EPA said it will allow states to voluntarily participate in the program, and that it “will make additional allowances or Emission Rate Credits (ERCs) available to states to encourage early reductions from zero-emitting wind or solar power projects and EE projects.” The Hill reports that the Incentive Program is meant to be the “carrot to the stick of the Clean Power Plan” by providing states with compliance credits for renewable energy and efficiency projects. Janet McCabe, head of the EPA’s air pollution office, said, “Taking these steps will help cut carbon pollution by encouraging investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.” Republicans disagree with the EPA assessment, claiming that the rule is a “last-ditch effort to scare states into spending scarce resources complying with a rule that could very well be overturned.” The Hill points out that the Clean Power Plan “seeks a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon emissions,” and is still “under a judicial stay from the Supreme Court’s February 2016 order.”

What Happens Next

There is still time for this program to be adjusted, as it pertains to reductions for 2020 and 2021 before the Clean Power Plan’s implementation, set for 2022. Additionally, with legal action pending, the Clean Power Plan could yet be overturned, nullifying the EPA’s Clean Energy Incentive Program.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The EPA in particular has a history of crafting excessive, aggressive regulations that are harmful to the small business community. The EPA’s announcement that it intends to move forward with its Clean Energy Incentive Program despite ongoing legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan is just the latest way the agency has shown its anti-business agenda. The costs of incentivizing clean energy, thus picking winners and losers in the energy market, will be widespread as small businesses see rising utility costs. And, those small businesses involved in the energy industry, but not with clean energy, may suffer lost business opportunities.

Additional Reading

POWER also covers the story.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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