Interesting Facts: EPA’s Clean Power Plan & Clean Water Rule

Water Bottle

Lately, you may have read about a lot of issues surrounding the EPA and its key policies. In this article, we summarize two policies that may face reconsideration by the new administration. The Clean Water Rule and the Clean Power Plan.

Clean Water Rule

The goal of the Clean Water Rule is to protect the streams and wetlands that have been scientifically shown to affect the quality of downstream water.

EPA Clean Water Rule and Clean Power Plan Infographic

– First of all, the Clean Water Rule protects water features like Prairie potholes, Carolina and Delmarva bays, and Pocosins.

– Many rely on such water sources. According to the EPA, one in three Americans get drinking water from streams. These streams were vulnerable to pollution before the Clean Water Rule.

– Many businesses rely on fresh water to operate. Examples include: fishing, agriculture, and aquatic recreation.

– Agricultural exemptions from the Clean Water Act are still intact. The Clean Water Rule does not affect normal farming activities like plowing and seeding.

Clean Power Plan

The goal of the Clean Power plan is to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, and to also maintain energy reliability through clean energy growth.

– Petroleum refineries and fossil fuel power plants make up nearly 40 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

– The EPA estimated that the Clean Power Plan could help reduce pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog. These pollutants make people sick by over 25 percent.

– The EPA provides an estimation that for every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan, American families could see up to $7 in health benefits.

– Finally, the Clean Power Plan does not have one nationwide policy. Each state has individual emission reduction goals. There are two forms – rate-based and mass-based. Each state can use either rate as part of their conservation plans.

Both of these policies are very dense and complex. We highly encourage you to visit the EPA website to learn more about them. The EPA fact sheets does a great job of summarizing these policies. There are two sides to every argument so make sure you spend some time learning the pros and cons of each policy.

April 14th 2017 Update: the process is underway to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule. Follow the news and keep up with these important developments.