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CATF Statement on EPA’s Release of the Final “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) Rule

June 19, 2019 Work Area: Power Plants

Not an ACE, but a joker. With its “repeal and replacement” of the Clean Power Plan, once again Trump’s EPA plays a losing hand. Unfortunately, the American public will be the ultimate losers. Here’s why:

EPA’s ACE rule is nothing more than a cynical attempt to preclude coal-fired power plants from reducing their climate pollution using the primary means by which they have already been reducing their climate pollution. Carbon emissions from this sector have gone down by nearly one-third since 2005, primarily due to reduced demand and generation of more electricity from renewables and natural gas and less from coal – the CPP locked in those changes. By contrast, the ACE rule will result in increased emissions from life-extending investments in old, dirty coal plants that makes them more economically competitive so that they are dispatched more frequently and run for more years than they otherwise would run.

“The so-called ACE rule is nothing more than an unlawful life-extension program for coal plants masquerading as a climate rule,” said Conrad Schneider, Advocacy Director for the Clean Air Task Force. “Instead of reductions in the carbon pollution required by law, the ACE rule simply checks the box of a Trump campaign promise in a futile attempt to save the coal industry by calling for investments in old, dirty coal plants that will run harder and longer, resulting in increased pollution,” he said.

ACE will result in negative health impacts across the board. Under the Clean Air Act, which requires the “best system of emission reduction,” according to a study published earlier this year, the ACE would actually increase emissions in 18 states plus Washington, DC, and 28 percent of all coal plants would have higher total CO2 emissions in 2030.

EPA found that ACE as it was proposed would result in over 1,600 annual deaths by 2030 as compared to the CPP.

EPA also had proposed significant changes to the New Source Review program to effectively exempt all life extensions at power plants. Now the Agency is putting those changes off until later in an attempt to make ACE appear less harmful than it actually is.

Clean Air Task Force, on behalf of its clients, will be challenging this perversion of the Clean Air Act this summer and anticipates that the courts will see through EPA’s flagrant attempt to provide its political allies with a handout to the detriment of the health and environment of the American people.

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