EXPLAINER | Clean Power Plan
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Clean Power Plan

The change in state law is expected to bring a boost to Pennsylvania's solar industry.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The change in state law is expected to bring a boost to Pennsylvania’s solar industry.

Seeking to reduce carbon emissions, the Environmental Protection Administration finalized the Clean Power Plan in 2015. The rule was President Barack Obama’s signature climate initiative, intended to help the nation transition away from coal-fired power toward cleaner sources like natural gas and renewables.

The Trump administration is attempting to repeal the rule and replace it with another that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.

The Clean Power Plan assigned each state emission reduction targets to phase in through 2030. Pennsylvania was required to reduce its carbon emissions by about 33 percent.

The plan faced sharp criticism from the coal industry and its allies, fueling accusations that Obama was waging a “war on coal.” The coal industry was already finding it tough to compete with cheap natural gas and renewable energy, resulting in a wave of mine and power plant closures in recent years.

More than two dozen states took the EPA to court over the Clean Power Plan, though Pennsylvania did not join any of the lawsuits.


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