Susan Hedman ’87 delivered the keynote address at “Air and Energy: The Path Ahead for U.S. States,” this year’s theme for the annual energy summit hosted by UW-Madison.
Hedman, who directs the Environmental Protection Agency’s Midwest office, spoke on the federally-mandated Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired plants by 32 percent by 2030.
She said states will have broad flexibility to draw up and implement their own plans to meet their goals, using one or more of the “building blocks” laid out by the EPA: improving the operational efficiency of fossil steam plants; increasing energy efficiency among consumers; shifting to lower-emitting fuels, like natural gas; and shifting to zero-emitting renewable sources, like wind and solar.
Two dozen states, including Wisconsin, have filed legal challenges to the plan, which was finalized during the summer and published to the Federal Register on Oct. 23.
Hedman said her agency believes the plan is on firm legal ground: “This is, after all, a basic emissions performance standard that applies to all units all across the United States in a uniform manner. That’s plain vanilla Clean Air Act.”
Many of the states challenging the plan are also actively working on implementing it, she added.
Hedman was appointed to her EPA post by President Barack Obama in 2010. Besides earning her J.D. from UW Law School, she holds a Ph.D. from UW–Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and a master’s degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs.
Submitted by Tammy Kempfert on November 10, 2015