Summary: S.1324 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate without amendment (10/29/2015)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015

(Sec. 3) This bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet certain conditions prior to issuing, implementing, or enforcing a rule under the Clean Air Act that: (1) establishes a performance standard for greenhouse gas emissions from new, modified, or reconstructed fossil fuel-fired power plants (new power plants); and (2) addresses carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants (existing power plants).

In issuing those rules for new power plants, the EPA must: (1) place power plants fueled with coal and natural gas into separate categories, and (2) establish a separate subcategory for power plants using coal below a specified average heat content. The EPA must base greenhouse gas standards for new power plans on existing carbon capture and storage technology. Before the EPA can establish a greenhouse gas standard based on the best system of emission reduction for new power plants, the standard must first be achieved for at least one year at representative power plants throughout the country. The EPA may not use results obtained from demonstration projects when setting the standard.

(Sec. 4) In order to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, the EPA must:

  • report on the quantity of projected greenhouse gas emission reductions,
  • assess the impacts of a rule to EPA's climate indicators, and
  • issue state-specific model plans demonstrating how each state can meet the required greenhouse gas emission reductions.

States need not adopt or implement a state plan, or be subject to a federal plan, that addresses carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants if the plan would negatively affect: (1) economic growth, competitiveness, and jobs; (2) the reliability of its electricity system; or (3) electricity ratepayers by causing rate increases.

The bill extends the compliance dates of those rules for existing power plants pending final judicial review.

(Sec. 5) State noncompliance with any of those rules for new or existing power plants does not constitute a reason for imposing a highway project sanction.

(Sec. 6) The bill nullifies specified rules under the Clean Air Act concerning greenhouse gases from power plants.

(Sec. 7) The EPA may regulate an existing power plant for either hazardous air pollutants or non-hazardous pollution, but not both.