News | January 12, 2016

Tennessee on track to easily meet Clean Power Plan goals

With states taking sides on the federal Clean Power Plan, Tennessee is one of four states remaining neutral. The decision by Governor Bill Haslam’s administration to stay above the political fray is thanks in large part to officials’ confidence that the state is already well on its way to meeting the targeted reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

In December, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) confirmed in a legislative hearing that “TVA has not identified a need to alter the plans for its fleet” of power plants in order to comply with the Clean Power Plan. The plan, released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August, lays out goals for cuts in carbon pollution for each state. TVA’s own long-range plan, developed prior to the Clean Power Plan, predicts that its overall carbon footprint will drop significantly over the next 20 years as it retires coal plants and develops an increased reliance on alternative energy resources like demand-side energy efficiency and utility-scale solar power. TVA also said they don’t expect meeting the Clean Power Plan targets will impact electricity rates, despite opponents’ claims. 

“This is a victory for reality over rhetoric,” said Staff Attorney Amanda Garcia. “By focusing on complying, rather than complaining, the state will save taxpayer money that would have otherwise been spent on a long and complicated lawsuit. Now the administration can wisely devote its limited resources to coming up with a plan that benefits all Tennesseans.”

States had to make their initial decision whether to litigate by late December. In SELC’s region, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina signed on to oppose the rule, while Virginia is helping EPA to defend the rule.

SELC Letter to the Editor: TVA should lead on reducing pollution, Knoxville News

“Unlike its neighbors, Tennessee won’t challenge EPA carbon limits,” Chattanooga Times Free Press