The Obama administration has finalized its plan to cut emissions from the nation's power plants.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama and Gina McCarthy, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, released the final rules for the federal Clean Power Plan. Under the plan
, carbon emissions from power plants would drop 870 million tons by 2030, according to information from the EPA. That would put the emissions at 32 percent lower than 2005 levels.
The plan was first unveiled in June 2014, and its general approach remains the same. States will be given emissions reduction targets that they must meet, but will have to figure out how to make those reductions. One option, the EPA says, is to participate in an interstate emissions cap-and-trade program.
New York and some other Northeastern states already have their own cap-and-trade program in place: the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Since the effort started in 2005, power plant carbon emissions in RGGI states have decreased by 40 percent, according to the initiative's website
As part of the final rules, the federal government is also creating a Clean Energy Incentive Program, which will provide states with matching funds to help encourage more widespread adoption of renewables such as wind and solar. The funds will also be available to help with energy efficiency projects in low-income communities.
Republican presidential contenders have already condemned the Clean Power Plan, and lawsuits from states and industry are expected.