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Oregon's Plan to Reduce Carbon Pollution from Power Plants

Implementing EPA’s Clean Power Plan in Oregonwind turbine columbia gorge

This webpage covers Oregon DEQ’s planning process to reduce carbon pollution at coal and natural gas power plants in our state. DEQ’s plan will implement carbon pollution reduction requirements in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently published Clean Power Plan. As EPA’s rule was only recently published, Oregon’s process has only just begun. DEQ will update this page once it has more information to share about its process for achieving EPA’s pollution reduction requirements for power plants in Oregon.

If you’d like to receive updates on DEQ’s process to implement EPA’s Clean Power Plan in Oregon, sign up for email updates on the Clean Power Plan here.


On June 2, 2014 U.S. EPA issued a proposal known as the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants. Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. EPA estimates that the proposed Clean Power Plan would cut national carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels. Smog and soot pollution from power plants are also expected to be reduced by 25 percent.

Letter from DEQ to EPA on the Clean Power Plan  |  Appendix to letter

Supplemental comment letter from DEQ to EPA

On August 3, 2015 the EPA finalized the Clean Power Plan. The final rule includes state specific CO2 reduction targets based on the composition of natural gas and coal plants within each state. The rule also provides states with broad flexibility to determine the preferred mechanisms for reducing CO2 emissions from these facilities.

Evaluation Criteria
(produced in conjunction with other agencies)

An important part of our early planning is to determine the type of emission standard that will work best for Oregon. EPA gives states the option to choose from two types of emission targets:

  1. Emission rate: This would apply an emission rate standard at each coal and natural gas power plant that is expressed as pounds of CO2 emitted per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated at the facility.
  2. Mass cap: this would establish an overall limit to the total CO2 emissions from all existing coal and natural gas power plants within the state.

To help inform our assessment of this important decision, we issued a document outlining conceptual compliance scenarios with different ways that an emission rate or a mass cap could be implemented in Oregon.

Conceptual Compliance Scenarios
(produced in conjunction with other agencies)

DEQ issued the two documents linked above for comments by stakeholders in December 2015. Following is a summary of the comments received by stakeholders sent in January 2016.

Stakeholder Comments

Current Work

Even though the Clean Power Plan is being debated in court, DEQ is continuing to work with Department of Energy, the Public Utility Commission, and stakeholders to advance our understanding of the best compliance approach for Oregon. We are still determining a process and timeline that aligns with the changing landscape of the Clean Power Plan, but expect to use the extra time to explore the key decisions EPA has given states that will shape Oregon’s compliance strategy. These include:

  • Emission rate or mass cap
  • The role of biomass in Oregon’s compliance strategy
  • Connections to other states

We expect to begin another round of stakeholder outreach during the Spring and Summer of 2016 to work through these significant issues. A more precise schedule and process will be developed as the federal timeframe for the Clean Power Plan becomes available.

Resources and Links


For more information, contact Colin McConnaha at 503-229-5094, Portland (toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-4011, ex. 5094), or by email

[print version]

For questions about air quality regulations or permits, see our Contacts page.

For more information about Air Quality call 503-229-5696

For reporting pollution problems contact Complaints

For technical assistance contact DEQINFO

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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