On June 25, 2013, the White House announced President Obama's Climate Action Plan. This Climate Plan focused on three major efforts: cut carbon pollution in America, prepare the Unites States for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to combat global climate change.
At the direction of President Obama, on August 3, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final rule on the Clean Power Plan for existing power plants [under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act].
The final Clean Power Plan requires each state to develop its own plan for reducing carbon emissions, which has to be submitted within three years. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is currently reviewing the final rule documents and will determine the next steps based on this initial review.
In late 2013, the EPA presented a series of questions for state regulators and the utility industry. Over the next eight months, the EPA held listening sessions and additional meetings across the country to engage stakeholders. Concurrently, DHEC also began having informal discussions with various entities and individuals with the primary goal of assisting the EPA with its outreach efforts.
One of DHEC's first outreach efforts involved a listening session between South Carolina's utility stakeholders and the EPA on November 5, 2013. The discussion was centered on the series of questions posed by the EPA. Stakeholders that attended this listening session were later invited to be a part of the SC Energy Coalition, which grew to include representatives from the environmental conservation and environmental justice communities.
Coalition participants have since met regularly to share information from their perspective and areas of expertise. This proactive effort provided stakeholders the opportunity to not only gain knowledge about regulating carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act, but also the opportunity to voice concerns and provide feedback to the EPA in its development of the proposed rule. Through a stakeholder consensus process, the coalition developed a set of "guiding principles" for the EPA's consideration as it moved forward with carbon regulation under the Clean Air Act. Several partners from the coalition also submitted additional comment letters.
By forming statewide, collaborative partnerships, South Carolina has taken a proactive approach in shaping these national standards. DHEC remains committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the development of this national ruling is done in a manner that provides maximum flexibility in development and implementation at the state level, is tailored to meet our state's unique economic challenges, and is right for South Carolina.
Date(s) for additional information session(s) to be held this fall will be announced soon.
Below is a select list of relevant documents about the plan and South Carolina's involvement: