On November 1, 2016, the period for public comments closed on EPA’s Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). Over 100,000 comments were received on EPA’s optional program to encourage early investment in solar and wind renewable-energy generation and efficiency programs in low-income communities. While some entities filed comments months in advance (the comment deadline originally was August 29, 2016), others waited until closer to the deadline. Here are some highlights from the more recently filed comments:
- The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity jointly submitted comments generally supporting EPA’s goal of encouraging clean energy investment and the CEIP’s emphasis on low-income communities. However, these groups are also concerned that incentives in the form of pollution credits or allowances will weaken both the CPP and the CEIP. They explain that if EPA distributes all of the matching allowances proposed in the CEIP, this will allow affected sources to emit 300 million tons of carbon dioxide beyond the limits set in the CPP. As a result, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity urge EPA to narrow the focus on the CEIP to only those projects that will most benefit from an incentive and that are most likely to offset the additional pollution credits being allocated.
- The Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), a group of electric-generation companies and national trade associations, submitted comments opposing the CEIP. As an initial matter, UARG argues that this EPA rulemaking is improper and unnecessary given the current stay and pending judicial review of the CPP. In addition to legal and procedural arguments, UARG objects to the general design of the CEIP. It argues that the CEIP should expand the types of projects eligible for the CEIP and that it should provide states and existing sources with more flexibility.
- The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities jointly submitted comments generally in support of the CEIP. Not surprisingly, a large portion of these comments focuses on ways in which the CEIP could include a greater role for local government. The U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities urge EPA to explore options to allow local governments to participate in the CEIP even if their states decline to participate. They also request that EPA require state consultation with cities and businesses, instead of merely encouraging such consultation.