Coal, Emissions, Policy & Regulations

Trump EPA rolls out Affordable Clean Energy plan amidst Outcry

President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the proposed replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, saying it’ll give states more regulatory power on curbing greenhouse gas emissions while raising the ire of enviromentalists nationwide.

The newly released Affordable Clean Energy rule, detailed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, takes hold of Trump’s edict to challenge the Clean Power Plan, which set carbon reduction targets for every state. The president and many states charged that the Obama CPP overstepped boundaries for federal power and put burdensome regulations on many coal-power states.

“The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler in the government release. “Today’s proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump’s goal of energy dominance.”

The ACE sets forth four main courses of action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Those include finding best on-site power plant efficiencies, calling for lists of technologies which can be used in state plans, an updated New Source Review permitting program and regulations which give states flexibility in developing response plans.

Many environmental groups are decrying the replacement for the 2015-era Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce power-plant carbon emissions some 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The advocacy groups voiced fears that reduced regulations will endanger health and un-do emissions progress made over past decades.

“The Trump administration’s new, enfeebled policy doesn’t come close to meeting the legal threshold required of the EPA to create safeguards against carbon emissions,” Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, wrote on the group’s website. “In fact, it is exactly what Trump and Wheeler’s fossil fuel friends want, especially since they are losing money as the U.S. economy continues to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner, cheaper competitors like solar and wind.”

Hitt said the Clean Power Plan would have generated $45 billion in annual health, climate and economic benefits, even with the compliance costs.

The EPA Tuesday said the ACE rule could reduce 2030-level CO2 emissions by up to 1.5 percent from levels projected without the Clean Power Plan. The new rule also would reduce the compliance burden by up to $400 million annually, the release said.