MCEA Staff blog regularly about current environmental issues and how they relate to MCEA's work.
A group of law professors published a paper last month arguing for application of section 115 of the Clean Air Act to build on the progress made by the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan. This provision allows the EPA to set emissions limits for states that go beyond the limits on particular industry sectors, like electricity generation, which is the CPP's focus. What is required is a finding that the US is emitting pollutants that endanger public health in other countries (endangerment) and that other countries are making commitments to reduce pollutant emissions that threaten the United States (reciprocity). Both are in place--we have tons of research on the effects of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and now, with the Paris CAP-21 accord, we meet the reciprocity requirement.
We certainly urge the Administration (and the next one too) to fully explore the section 115 option. At the same time, we see no reasons why states who want to be leaders on climate need to confine their implementation plans to meet Clean Power Plan targets to the electric power sector or to the CPP's less-than-ambitious targets. The Clean Power Plan will not take us to where we need to be. Minnesota's leaders know that we need to go further, but perhaps the possibility of section 115 will help create the political will to achieve more on GHG reductions. Let's hope.