Heads up, coal plants: The EPA plans to unveil a new rule tomorrow seeking a 30% drop in carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 2030, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The federal government will let states choose how to implement the rule—with more renewable energy, cap-and-trade programs, or investments in green technologies. And the rule won't be completed until a year from now. But states will have to get rolling by June 2016. "This is not a standard that a state then can willy-nilly ignore," a clean-energy advocate tells the AP.
States particularly reliant on coal—the nation's top source of electricity, and a major source of greenhouse gases—have already opposed federal attempts to curb power-plant emissions. "The concern is that the federal standards ... are going to drive the cost of electricity up for every single consumer in the state," said a Missouri state representative. So what will happen? If states fail to conform, the EPA could create its own plan for each. And the whole thing may well end up in court, a clean-energy expert tells the Washington Post: "When you have flexibility, there’s potentially more room for a legal challenge." (Read more EPA stories.)