Montana Faces the Most Drastic Emissions Cut of Any State Under New Rule

Aaron Flint posted on August 12, 2015 09:16 :: 538 Views


More analysis of  the EPA’s new “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) has found that Montana faces the most drastic cut in CO2 emissions from power plants of any state.

The analysis comes from the international business analysis firm, SNL, which states that Montana will face a 44 percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants from 2020 projections without the CPP to the 2030 levels of carbon output under the final rule. Without the CPP, Montana’s output — measured in pounds per megawatt hour — is projected to be 2,314 lbs/MWh. The CPP requires a cut to 1,305 lbs/MWh by 2030.

SNL analyst Annalee Grant writes:

The EPA developed each state’s goal based on how many coal- or oil-fired power plants it has, as well as how many natural gas plants. All states must fall within an average rate of 771 lbs/MWh for those with only natural gas plants, and 1,305 lbs/MWh for states that only have coal plants. Each specific state goal is balanced within these two benchmarks.

The state with the most difficult row to hoe appears to be Montana, home to a large swath of the Powder River Basin, the nation’s largest coal-producing region. The EPA established a final rate-based average CO2 goal for 2030 and beyond of 1,305 lbs/MWh for Montana, well below the state’s 2012 baseline rate of 2,481 lbs/MWh and also far under where the agency projected Montana would be without the Clean Power Plan in place. This business as usual case estimates that Montana would have a CO2 rate of 2,314 lbs/MWh in 2020, necessitating a reduction of 44% to meet the 2030 final goal.

The new carbon emissions regulations on power plants are being implemented under Rule 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, which requires states to create performance standards for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants and then submit those plans for approval from the EPA. Under the final rule, state plans altogether would have to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Overall, the rule would mean a drastic reduction in the use of coal for power generation.

SNL Graph 2

Graphic: SNL

Two of Montana’s neighbors, Wyoming (43%)  and North Dakota (40%), have the 2nd and 3rd most drastic cuts respectively. Certain, less coal reliant states, such as Washington, New Hampshire, and California, actually have an emission cap for 2030 that is above their 2020 projections.

The new rule has proven controversial, with Montana officials from both sides of the political aisle railing against the new standards. The is likely to face a barrage of lawsuits from coal companies and coal reliant states.

Last week, Media Trackers reported that Montana also faced one of the biggest changes in the CPP standard from the preliminary proposal in 2014 to the final rule. Montana’s target emissions rate was 1,771 lbs/MWh under the 2014 preliminary rule. As stated earlier the final rule demands a cut to 1,305 lbs/MWh by 2030.

Media Trackers Montana is a conservative non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting accountability in the media and government. Read more at Follow Media Trackers on Twitter @mediatrackersmt.

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