The EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Its Effects on Southwestern Pennsylvania

Hillary Cox, Duquesne University

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan under the authority of the Clean Air Act Section III(d) and President Obama's Climate Action Plan. The general goal of the Clean Power Plan is to lower the carbon intensity that results from power generation in the United States. The Clean Power Plan proposes state-specific, rate-based goals for cutting the carbon emissions originating from the power sector. It also provides guidelines for states as they individually develop state-specific plans for curtailing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Clean Power Plan attempts to halt the planet's race towards life-devastating carbon dioxide levels by setting specific ultimate goals for each state to meet individually. The Clean Power Plan's call for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions will undoubtedly impact Pennsylvania's coal industry. By using testimony collected at the EPA's Public Hearings, held in Pittsburgh, this article will explore some of the anticipated consequences and results that the imposition of the Clean Power Plan will have on Southwestern Pennsylvania. The article examines the sentiments of coal miners and concerned environmentalists alike, as well as the effects the plan will have on the energy grid and the energy industry here in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The implications that the Clean Power Act will have on the economy as a whole cannot be ignored, and that is why each state should be required to submit an in depth description of its strategy for helping displaced employees find an alternative way to make a living.