On August 13, a group of 22 U.S. states and 7 cities filed a petition for review of the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seeks a review of EPA’s final action by the appellate panel and calls for the rule to be vacated.
The states argue that the ACE rule violates EPA’s duty under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to address carbon pollution from power plants because it does not meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from coal fired electric generating units (EGUs), that ACE obstructs states that pursue cleaner electricity generation, and runs contrary to Congress’ intent for EPA to address air pollution by artificially narrowing EPA’s authority under the CAA.
Under the Trump Administration, EPA developed the ACE rule to replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP capped carbon dioxide emissions on many fossil fuel-fired EGUs and would have reduced GHG emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. The ACE rule does not place limits on GHGs but focuses on efficiency upgrades at coal-fired plants. Under ACE, states would develop unit specific performance standards for certain fossil fuel-fired EGUs that reflect the emissions limitation achievable when implementing systems from a list of heat rate improvement technologies that EPA has determined are the best systems of emission reduction. This reflects EPA’s current view that the CAA only permits the agency to require changes to the generating unit – “inside-the-fence line” – as opposed to generation shifting and emissions trading.
State parties to the suit are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The cities involved are Boulder, Chicago, the District of Columbia, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and South Miami. Read coverage here and here.