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EPA drops efforts to finish Clean Power Plan's model trading rules

The U.S. EPA is walking away from efforts to finalize the draft model trading rules and other projects associated with the Clean Power Plan before the new administration takes over.

In a Dec. 19 blog post, Janet McCabe, EPA acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, explained that the agency decided to withdraw the Clean Power Plan's model trading rules and other related projects and post the work that has been completed as a working draft.

"While these drafts are not final and we are not required to release them at this time, making them available now allows us to share our work to date and to respond to the states that have requested exit information prior to the end of the administration," McCabe wrote.

The documents also include guidance for demand-side energy efficiency, a draft Clean Power Plan tracking system and guidance to prevent the leakage of emissions from one source to another under certain trading schemes.

Since the Clean Power Plan was put on hold, the EPA has been under pressure to stop working on any projects related to the rule. But the agency also received requests from some states that wanted to see the model rules completed.

"We believe that the work we have done so far may be useful at this time to the states, stakeholders and members of the public who are considering or are already implementing policies and programs that would cut carbon pollution from the power sector," McCabe wrote.

Interested states could conceivably use the EPA's drafts to create their own emissions trading programs if they choose to continue policies in line with President Barack Obama's climate change agenda.

The documents will not be published in the Federal Register or signed by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, making them unofficial.