DEQ submits rule to EMC for addressing carbon emissions, announces backup plan

Raleigh

RALEIGH – The Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, will present to the Environmental Management Commission, or EMC, this week its primary plan in response to the federal power plan rule for controlling carbon dioxide emissions. The primary plan consists of a proposed rule for improving efficiencies at the state’s electric generating units. The primary plan is based on the only component of the federal power plan rule that the department believes is legal. Allowing this proposed rule to go to hearing will ensure that the state can meet the federal power plan’s September 2016 deadline.

DEQ will also announce that it intends to develop a backup plan that will be completed at the same time as other states that request a two-year extension for creating their compliance plan. The decision to develop a backup plan was made after DEQ met with stakeholders including industrial groups, utility companies and special interest groups to discuss the best path forward for North Carolina.

“Allowing this proposed rule to proceed to hearing today is the best way to comply with the law, protect energy rates and prevent federal takeover of the state’s energy program.” said DEQ Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart. “While we remain confident that our approach will be successful, we believe it is prudent to develop a backup plan that will only be submitted to the federal government in the unlikely event that the primary plan is not successful.”

In addition to developing both a primary and backup plan, DEQ joined 23 states in filing a lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, on grounds that the federal power plan rule is illegal and could cost billions of dollars to plan for and implement before it is ultimately overturned by the court.

The federal power plan rule was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 23, 2015.

The EMC’s Air Quality Committee will meet at 2 p.m. today, and the full commission meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday. Both meetings will be held in the Ground Floor Hearing Room of the Archdale Building, 512 North Salisbury St., Raleigh. More information about the proposed rules can be found on the N.C. Division of Air Quality’s website, www.ncair.org .

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