US President Barack Obama on Monday announced [statement, video] a set of new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] power plant pollution regulations [EPA materials] designed to improve air quality and reduce green house gas emissions. The so-called “Clean Power Plan” sets carbon and other pollutant emission standards for states and requires them to submit plans to meet the standards by September 2016. It also provides incentives for the adoption of solar and other alternative energy production methods and recommended guidelines for states to use in creating their plans. Obama said the plan would help the country reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and lead to fewer air-quality related diseases. Opponents of the rules say they will be prohibitively expensive to implement and some energy companies have already said [AP report] they plan to challenge the rules in court.
Regulating power plant emissions has been a contentious issue. In June, the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that the EPA must consider costs of the regulations it puts on power plants. The Clean Power plan was introduced as a set of proposed rules in June 2014 and challenged [JURIST report] in April.