Where a repeal of the EPA's Clean Power Plan would leave Minnesota

Here's where that would leave Minnesota and its renewable energy goals.

The Clean Power Plan – an Obama White House initiative to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. – is going up in smoke.

Scott Pruitt, current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Monday he'll start the process to repeal the Clean Power Plan, CNN reports.

Pruitt was in Kentucky, speaking to coal miners there, and said his EPA will publish the new proposal to undo the Obama-era regulation Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.

Trump in March signed an executive order that, in part, ordered the EPA to review the Clean Power Plan. This announcement from Pruitt is a result of that review. And apparently, they found the regulations burdensome..

"When you think about the Clean Power Plan, it wasn't about regulating to make things regular," said Pruitt on Monday, according to ABC News. "It was truly about regulating to pick winners and losers and they interpreted the best system of emission reduction is generating electricity not using fossil fuels." 

A leak of the repeal, obtained and shared by CNN, argues the Clean Power Plan "exceeds" the EPA's authority.

There will be a public comment period after the repeal process is started, so it will not take effect immediately.

Where does this leave Minnesota?

Former President Barack Obama signed the Clean Power Plan in August of 2015. 

It set broad goals for each state regarding the amount of carbon emissions coming from power plants, ThinkProgress explains. Each state had some flexibility with how to reach those goals – here is Minnesota's outline.

Nationwide, the ultimate hope was to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent by the year 2030.

As of early 2016, Minnesota had made significant progress. The state said renewables accounted for 21 percent of the total energy generated in Minnesota – putting the state well ahead of schedule to reach its goals.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has repeatedly said that, no matter what happens to the federal Clean Power Plan, the state will work toward its own clean energy goals – specifically the Next Generation Energy Act, which calls for 25 percent of Minnesota's energy to come form renewable sources by 2025.

The governor's office teamed with state lawmakers – both Republicans and Democrats – to propose even more ambitious goals. But it didn't end up getting voted on.

“Even as the Trump Administration seeks to roll back a decade of hard-fought progress, Minnesota will not flinch," Dayton said in March. "We will show the nation what can be achieved by working together to solve the challenges facing our people, our economy, and our environment. We will share best practices with other states, and work with them to mitigate the damaging impacts of the President’s dangerous and divisive policies.”

And Minnesota's largest utility, Xcel Energy, is also on board.

After the 2016 election, Xcel said its goal to produce 40 percent of energy from renewal sources by 2030 is unchanged. You can read our previous story about the company's plans here.

The simple reason for pushing its renewable investments is that in the long-term, renewable energy and cleaner burning natural gas are expected to be more cost efficient than dirtier fuels like coal and oil.

Xcel recently announced ambitious plans to build a new wind farm by 2021, which when complete would give the company enough wind energy in its portfolio to power every home in Minnesota.

However, without a federal mandate to meet, there would be much less serious immediate consequences if Minnesota's renewable plans were to change.

Next Up


Burnsville PD: Customer sprayed chemical irritant at McDonald's workers

The incident happened in Burnsville over the weekend.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

MN launches campaign to get students tested for COVID every 2 weeks

The state launched a youth testing campaign on Wednesday as part of its effort to control the spread of COVID.

jacob frey

Preparations for Derek Chauvin trial underway in Minneapolis

People will see "fortification" efforts and National Guard soldiers.

Willmar Police Department

Road rage leads to brawl at Willmar intersection, police say

The participants appeared to know each other, police said.

hazelewood burgers

3 Minnesota restaurants make it on 50 best burgers in America list

A travel website praised the restaurants' burgers in a recently released list.

Fire, firefighters

Firefighter critical after gun discharges during blaze, hitting him

The 35-year-old Cornell firefighter is hospitalized in critical condition

evelyn adams

After 2 years, sheriff's office seeks new leads in unsolved deadly home invasion

"The sheriff’s office is close to knowing exactly what occurred that night but needs your help," the sheriff's office said.

joseph heroff

Man charged in chase that ended with police fatally shooting suspect

The suspect who was shot has also been identified.

Royce Lewis

Twins' Royce Lewis tears his ACL, will undergo surgery

A huge blow for the former No. 1 draft pick.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Police release cause of death for daughter of MN Supreme Court Justice and Allina CEO

Olivia Chutich died from a combination of excessive drinking and hypothermia.


Science Museum of Minnesota to reopen this weekend

The museum will be open on weekends with limited capacity and other safety precautions.


What MN's lawmakers have said about the EPA, Trump's executive order

A look at MInnesota's U.S. senators and representatives, and their comments on the environment.

Syria joins the Paris climate agreement, leaving the U.S. as the only country on earth not taking part

Here's a list of countries not signed on to the accord. (Hint: It's short.)

Here's what Xcel Energy's plan for MN power plants means for you

Minnesota energy regulators are set to rule on Xcel Energy's plan to cut carbon emissions and boost renewable energy. Here's what it means.

Pruitt confirmed as EPA head, Franken and Klobuchar voted against him

Minnesota's senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, were among those to vote against Pruitt's confirmation.

Xcel says Trump presidency won't stop plans for cleaner power in MN

Xcel Energy has pledged its plans to reduce carbon emissions in Minnesota will continue, no matter who is president.