EPA Proposes Light-Touch Replacement for Obama-Era Clean Power Plan

This general view shows the chimmneys of the nuclear power plant at Cattenom in eastern France on October 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN (Photo credit should read JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule on Tuesday to replace the burdensome Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) to reduce greenhouse gas emission from coal-fired power plants.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release on Tuesday:

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. 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.

In a statement Tuesday, Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, said, “EPA has an important role when it comes to addressing the CO2 from our nation’s power plants.”

The EPA first proposed to replace the Obama-era CPP in October under the previous administrator, Scott Pruitt. On Tuesday, the EPA proposed the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which would establish guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The EPA contends that ACE will empower states, promote energy independence, facilitate economic growth, and create jobs.

According to the EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), the new ACE rule will benefit the country in a myriad of ways, which include:

  • The EPA projects that replacing the CPP could provide $400 million annual net benefits.
  • The ACE rule would reduce the regulatory compliance burden by up to $400 million per year compared to the CPP.
  • All of the EPA’s models project that the new rule will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to current levels.
  • The EPA estimates that the ACE rule could reduce 2030 CO2 emission by up to 1.5 percent from projected levels without the CPP, which amounts to taking 5.3 million cars off the road. The EPA also expects that when states have implemented their ACE plans, American energy sector emissions could be 33 to 34 percent below 2005-level emissions.

“The ACE rule would fulfill this role in a manner consistent with the structure of the Clean Air Act while being equally respectful of its bounds,” Wehrum added.


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