A panel of federal judges Tuesday struck down the Trump administration’s effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan and replace it with the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule, which wouldn’t require significant carbon emission reductions.
The ruling came in a challenge brought by a coalition of 23 states and seven local governments.
In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Trump administration’s replacement rule and the process the Environmental Protection Agency went through to adopt it “hinged on a fundamental misconstruction” of the Clean Air Act.
“The Trump Administration’s ‘Affordable Clean Energy’ rule was neither affordable nor clean,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “This was a thinly veiled attempt to loosen restrictions on coal power plants, while doing nothing to address carbon pollution or climate change.”
In August 2019, state and local governments filed a petition for review challenging the EPA’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
In 2015, the EPA adopted the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The Trump administration’s ACE rule requires states to set performance standards for coal power plants that doesn’t require carbon emissions reductions.
The ACE rule doesn’t promote clean energy, according to the petition. Instead, it incentivizes the continued use of coal-fired power generation and does nothing to address the climate change problems caused by carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.
The EPA’s own analysis showed that the new rule would have resulted in increased carbon dioxide in some states over the next 15 years.