On August 3, 2015, President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Clean Power Plan, a federal plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Here, Harvard Law faculty and policy experts offer some initial assessments of the plan’s anticipated benefits and potential legal challenges.
An op-ed by Jody Freeman. Now that the Obama administration has released the full details of its highly anticipated Clean Power Plan today, industry and state opponents are champing at the bit to challenge it in court…For those handicapping the litigation, however, the government’s odds of success just got a significant boost. A close analysis of the language in the final plan released today suggests that EPA has addressed each of these problems in subtle but significant ways, and the legal battle will now likely be much harder for the challengers.
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. When it comes to regulating greenhouse gases, some people think the more stringent the rules, the better. Others favor the more pragmatic approach championed by President Ronald Reagan: The benefits of any regulation must justify its costs. The Barack Obama administration’s rules for existing power plants, announced Monday, pass Reagan’s test with flying colors — and offer some nice surprises along the way.
An op-ed by Jody Freeman and Kate Konschnik. With the release of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a flood of legal challenges will begin. Already, opponents have denounced the new rule limiting carbon pollution as unconstitutional. Behind the rattling sabers, however, there’s a quieter story worth noticing. Many big players in the electric power industry will gain more with the rule in place than if the courts strike it down. In fact, many power companies have worked with the administration to get the best possible deal, and with states to discuss compliance strategies. Given their financial interests, some of these utilities may even wind up helping the government defend the rule.
An op-ed by Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus. After releasing the Clean Power Plan this week the Obama administration must shift from offense to defense. The plan, which set the first national limits on carbon pollution from existing coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, faces two significant risks: one legal, the other political. The administration must address them to achieve the plan’s ambitious goal of cutting carbon emissions 32% below 2005 levels in 2030.