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What They Are Saying | EPA Finalizes Affordable Clean Energy Rule

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WASHINGTON (June 20, 2019) - Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule – replacing the prior administration’s overreaching Clean Power Plan (CPP) with a rule that restores the rule of law and empowers states to continue to reduce emissions while providing affordable and reliable energy for all Americans. 

ACE has received widespread praise: 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY): "The previous administration left a sprawling mess of regulation tangled throughout the federal government and the U.S. economy. Sweeping left-wing visions were dreamt up here in Washington and forced on farm families, domestic manufacturers, and small businesses throughout the country with little regard for the consequences. The reach of regulators grew longer and longer. And the burden on American prosperity became heavier and heavier...I look forward to the administration rolling out a new policy that upholds the rule of law, keeps the EPA within its statutory role, and encourages American energy reliability and affordability. Just one more win for all the Americans who live and work in communities where affordable, homegrown American energy sources like coal still matter a lot. Another win for states like Kentucky. It's nice to have an administration that isn't narrowly focused on just the big, blue urban areas, but looks out for all of our country."

Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (WY): “The Affordable Clean Energy rule is good news for Wyoming. The Trump administration’s rule follows the law and lowers emissions. The so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ would have mandated the shutdown of power plants and increased energy costs for families in Wyoming and across the country. I look forward to working with President Trump, Administrator Wheeler, and the state of Wyoming to implement this common sense replacement to the Clean Power Plan.

Senate Committee on the Budget Chairman Senator Mike Enzi (WY): “I am glad the EPA is replacing the Clean Power Plan, which was designed to put coal out of business. States, not the federal government, are in the best position to set energy policies that work best for them. This rule helps to empower states and provide needed flexibility to move toward better energy production without causing economic harm.”

Senator Steve Daines (MT): “The new ACE plan is great news for Montana’s rural communities. The Obama EPA Power Plan would have wiped out Colstrip immediately, killing high paying jobs, local and state tax revenue that helps pay for our schools, and affordable reliable energy that keeps the lights on. This ACE Rule would instead provide flexibility to states and power plants to innovate to reduce pollution rather than eliminating coal fired generation with heavy mandates from Washington. I thank the Trump administration for taking this leadership.”

Senator Kevin Cramer (ND): “I applaud President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for repealing the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan and replacing it with the ACE rule. Not only was the Clean Power Plan illegal, it threatened to raise electricity bills, reduce grid reliability, and eliminate well-paying jobs. The ACE rule respects the law and restores the proper balance between states and the federal government while promoting energy security. ACE is a win for North Dakota and the nation.”

Governor Pete Ricketts (NE:) “Thank you to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for following through on your promise to roll back this job-killing regulation,” said Governor Ricketts.  “The so-called Clean Power Plan was completely unnecessary red tape because Nebraska already works hard to keep our air and water clean.  The regulation gave Nebraska zero credit for innovative projects we already have in the pipeline, and it would have burdened Nebraska families and Main Street with budget-crushing power rate increases.”

Congressman Steve Scalise (LA-1): “The Trump Administration’s announcement of the Affordable Clean Energy rule to replace the Clean Power Plan is another welcome addition to President Trump’s list of promises fulfilled that benefit American workers. The Obama Administration’s top down, one-size-fits-all Clean Power Plan would have killed jobs and raised energy prices, hurting hard-working families.  This revised rule will focus on free market principles to strengthen American energy dominance while still protecting our environment.  I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump on achieving American energy dominance to strengthen our national security and finally give economic opportunities to millions of people who were left behind.”

Congresswoman Liz Cheney (WY-AL): “The Trump Administration is once again working to strengthen the Wyoming economy and protect the energy industry by reversing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which was killing jobs, strangling our economy, and slowly destroying our coal industry. Coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin is the cleanest in the world and provides power to 27 states. Ensuring the reliability of our electric grid by supporting coal — a crucial baseload power source — is an economic and national security priority. By returning more authority to the states, the ACE Rule will allow regulators in Wyoming and other states throughout the country to tailor their plans without the devastating effects of the Clean Power Plan. This rule recognizes the need for proven sources of energy that keep the lights on in Wyoming and throughout the country, a stark contrast from proposals like the Green New Deal that are purely a fantasy. I thank President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to a cooperative partnership between the EPA and states, rather than the mandated subservience required by the Obama Administration.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-9): “When the Obama Administration proposed its Clean Power Plan, I made the point repeatedly that it was unlawful according to standards set by the courts and even the EPA’s own prior interpretations of the Clean Air Act. Courts stayed the rule, but if it had been enacted, it would have shut down power plants and put coal miners out of business. The Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule is a marked improvement. It will reduce pollution while respecting the EPA’s authority and the roles of the states. States will be able to plan for cutting emissions of pollutants while taking into account their energy sources. This rule keeps the EPA’s focus where it should be: on cleaner air, not shutting down mines and power plants at the expense of consumers and ratepayers.”

Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-4): “For eight years, President Obama waged a war on American energy. The so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ would have devastated rural economies, cost American jobs, and threatened our energy independence. President Trump promised to roll back costly and burdensome regulations, and today’s action continues to deliver on this promise. The Affordable Clean Energy Act supports energy diversity and affordability, restores the rule of law, and treats states as partners rather than the enemy when it comes to developing plans that benefit the environment. I applaud Administrator Wheeler and President Trump for their leadership and for repealing one of the Obama Administration’s biggest attacks on American energy.”

Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-4): “We should be empowering states to develop plans to reduce carbon emissions by using evidence-based methods – not through ineffective bureaucratic mandates like the CPP. In Washington state, we are fortunate to have access to diverse energy resources like hydropower, nuclear, solar, and wind. I welcome the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which will give each state the authority and flexibility to explore renewable, affordable energy plans. By promoting innovation and modernization of our energy plans, we can continue to reduce emissions in the United States.”

Congressman Don Young (AK-AL): “The CPP was an egregious act of Federal overreach that attempted to override the original congressional intent behind the Clean Air Act. I’m pleased that the EPA has instead issued the ACE rule, which helps reign in Federal bureaucracy, cut red tape, and empower states in determining the best course of action for their energy, environmental, and geographic needs. This rule, unlike the CPP, will not force coal-based power plants to shut down or face unfair and punitive penalties, but will allow them to continue to operate while working to become more efficient.”

Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-1): “The previous Administration’s Clean Power Plan far exceeded the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. Fortunately, the Supreme Court recognized this and stepped in to prevent it from ever taking effect. Now, the EPA is implementing a new rule that actually supports the role of states and promotes energy diversity in America. The Affordable Clean Energy Rule will save taxpayers millions of dollars, reduce emissions, and promote investment in new technologies, and I applaud the Trump Administration and the EPA for replacing the CPP with something that works.”

Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-5): “I commend President Trump and his administration for repealing the Obama-era ‘Clean Power Plan.’  This action is another example of the President staying true to his promise to cut unnecessary regulations and revive America’s energy independence.”

Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA-5): “The CPP, like most of Obama’s climate initiatives, went way too far in an effort to score political points with far-left environmentalists. The new rule will not only actually be implemented, but it will make reasonable and meaningful steps to providing cleaner energy.”

Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-AL): “I appreciate the work of EPA Administrator Wheeler and President Trump to repeal the Clean Power Plan and help end the war on coal. I welcome this new rule that will help reduce emissions, maintain state authority and flexibility, and recognizes the important role that innovation and modernization can play in our existing coal generation facilities.”

Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-8): “I applaud the Trump Administration for implementing a rule that will restore flexibility to the states. The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule will empower individual states to decide their own emissions standards and energy portfolios. Unlike the costly and burdensome regulations in Obama’s Clean Power Plan, ACE will diversify the nation’s energy portfolio and lead to lower costs for consumers and businesses.”

Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-3): “I’m pleased the Trump Administration took action against President Obama’s radical power-grab, the Clean Power Plan. I submitted an amendment to Interior Appropriations to defund this costly and problematic rule which would cause electricity bills to skyrocket for American ratepayers.  The new Trump Administration ACE Rule rolls back Obama’s attacks on American energy through the CPP and paves the way for clean and affordable energy.”

Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-1): "Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restored the rule of law by repealing the overreaching Clean Power Plan (CPP) and replacing it with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule. The Trump EPA Rule that tracks the law will actually allow cheaper energy for the nation’s working poor while cleaning up the air and water to levels not experienced in many decades. Not only did the Obama CPP exceed the authority given the EPA under the actual law, it was challenged by thirty-seven states and ultimately required Supreme Court intervention. This move by the EPA will promote energy affordability and greater variations in energy development throughout the country. States will now be allowed to develop a better understanding of the resources within their borders. Thankfully, this rule will also help restore the appropriate roles between the federal government and allow states more power to help the environment and their citizens."

Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-8):“I am pleased to see President Trump has taken action to replace the Obama Administration’s failed Clean Power Plan which exceeded authority Congress gave to the EPA and which never fully went into effect due to Supreme Court intervention. President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule gives power back to the states, incentives private investment in new, cleaner technologies, and aims to reduce CO2, mercury, and ozone precursors from coal-fired electric generation. The Affordable Clean Energy Rule helps to strengthen our energy independence while protecting the environment and ensures for a more reliable and resilient energy grid for all Hoosiers.”

Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH-18): "With the replacement of the Obama Administration’s so-called 'Clean Power Plan,' President Trump is continuing his promise to roll back heavy-handed energy regulations that would increase the cost of electricity for American families and decrease the reliability of our nation’s power grid. The EPA’s new Affordable Clean Energy Rule maintains the United States’ commitment to improving air quality and environmental conditions while providing regulatory certainty and flexibility to states. The ACE Rule proves state environmental agencies and the private sector can be partners in efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, not as adversaries like the Obama Administration treated them. Despite the unnecessary alarmism from socialists touting the Green New Deal, the United States is already a global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The ACE Rule will ensure we continue to be the leader without the Green New Deal’s call for command-and-control socialist economics.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrissey (WV): "The Affordable Clean Energy rule will respect the important role of states in regulating energy and air quality. It is a significant step forward in embracing Congress’ intent for cooperation between the state and federal governments, correcting the Obama-era, one-size-fits-all model that promised to devastate coal communities across the state and nation.  Such cooperation restores each state’s authority to consider factors specific to the energy needs and facilities in their borders, including costs, practical achievability and the useful life of any particular power plant."

Secretary for Energy and Environment Charles Snavely (KY): “For us, electricity is important. Cost is important. Reliability is important. And the rule of law is important. We believe the Affordable Clean Energy rule addresses those priorities while achieving the goal of emissions reductions: The ACE Rule is consistent with EPA’s statutory authority, and the limits thereof; The appropriate role of the States in implementing the Clean Air Act is being restored; and This rule provides regulatory certainty for the States while allowing adequate time to develop and submit compliance plans. And the rule clears a path to invest in new technologies to increase efficiencies, and reduce emissions in a legal, logical manner. And we support that approach.”

Donnie Colston, President, Unions for Jobs and Environmental Progress: "Our members primarily work in electric generation construction, operations, and maintenance, rail transportation, and coal mining. We support EPA's Affordable Clean Energy rule that will replace the Clean Power Plan. Our member unions were active in the development of the original Clean Power Plan. We were concerned about its 'outside the fence' approach effectively mandating that utilities switch from coal to natural gas and renewables, and its adverse job impacts among workers and communities.  Several of our members joined in the legal challenges to the rule, which was stayed by the Supreme Court. We support the 'inside the fence' approach that EPA is adopting for a state-driven, unit-specific program to improve the efficiency and reduce emissions of plants subject to the replacement rule. These investments can create thousands of jobs, improve worker safety, and enhance energy efficiency while reducing CO2 and other air pollutants. This rule is a win-win for jobs and the environment."

Jim Matheson, CEO, NRECA: “This final rule represents a more flexible path forward that will minimize the cost to consumers and preserve the reliability of the electric grid as electric co-ops work to promote a healthy environment and vibrant rural communities. Electric cooperatives have invested billions of dollars in diverse energy sources and emission-reduction technology to meet the electricity needs of their local communities while protecting the environment. The final ACE rule gives electric cooperatives the ability to adopt evolving technology and respond to market and consumer demands while continuing to serve as engines of economic development for one in eight Americans.”

Adam Brandon, President, Freedom Works: “FreedomWorks commends the EPA for continuing its efforts to ‘drain the swamp’ by cutting regulatory red tape. The Clean Power Plan is yet another way the Obama administration tried to stifle investment and innovation in our nation’s energy sector and burden Americans with higher energy costs. By giving more power to our states and allowing the free market more leeway to innovate, we can reduce emissions without heavy-handed government mandates. Such a system will be far more affordable and reliable for American taxpayers going forward.”

Americans for Tax Reform: “Today, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the finalized Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule which repeals the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP). The Obama EPA’s CPP was intentionally designed to regulate away coal from our nation’s energy portfolio with the ultimate goal of eliminating traditional forms of energy, resulting in higher prices for consumers. The CPP was regulatory overreach at its worst as the Obama EPA exceeded its authority given by Congress under the Clean Air Act. In 2016, the Supreme Court was forced to issue a stay of the CPP and blocked it from ever actually being implemented. The Trump EPA’s ACE Rule repeals the unlawful CPP and correctly returns power back to the states while restoring the EPA to its proper regulatory role under the Clean Air Act. The ACE rule creates guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit emissions at their coal-fired power plants by identifying heat rate improvements as the best system of emission reduction (BSER). States are given 3 years to submit plans ensuring flexibility and adequate time for development. The EPA projects that ACE Rule will result in annual net benefits of $120 million to $730 million, including costs, domestic climate benefits, and health co-benefits.”

Christopher Guith, Acting President, U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute: “The ACE rule will help continue the trend of declining electric power sector emissions while preserving America’s energy leadership and respecting the law.  We commend the Administration not only for its efforts to replace the unlawful Clean Power Plan with a regulatory framework for addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, but also for doing so by engaging with all stakeholders in a thorough and collaborative process.  While we will thoroughly review the final text, we are particularly pleased that the final ACE rule establishes guidelines emphasizing cooperation with states and encouraging the deployment of innovative technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants in a manner that is practical, achievable, and consistent with the Clean Air Act. The Chamber believes that the global climate is changing and that human activities contribute to those changes.  Inaction on climate change is not an option, and policies to address it must be practical, flexible, predictable and durable. If consistent with these criteria, the ACE rule represents an important step by the Administration, working with states, and the private sector to lower greenhouse gas emissions."

Edison Electric Institute: “EEI’s member companies are united in their commitment to get as clean as they can, as fast as they can, while keeping reliability and affordability front and center as always. At this time, we are still reviewing the details of the Affordable Clean Energy rule, and we will be working with our members to determine what the rule means for individual companies, for our sector, and for our customers. EEI’s member companies operate in very diverse markets, and many pathways can lead to the same collective result. Our industry already has made significant progress in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and this impressive trend is expected to continue. In fact, EEI’s member companies collectively are on a path to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. We remain committed to working with all stakeholders, especially states, and to leading the clean energy transformation by continuing to reduce CO2 in our sector and by helping other sectors transition to clean, efficient electric energy.”

The Heritage Foundation: “The Affordable Clean Energy rule is a sensible alternative to the Obama administration’s climate alarmist agenda, the Clean Power Plan. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the proposed Obama-era regulation unacceptably exceeded EPA’s statutory authority and disregarded states’ concerns that the rule abandoned federalism, so the CPP never went into effect. Its legal troubles aside, the CPP regulations would have imposed significant costs on American families and businesses all for negligible impact on global temperatures. Rather than having a centralized agency like the EPA force states to re-engineer their energy landscape, ACE focuses on the regulation at the power plant level, rightsizing the EPA’s regulatory role. ACE offers a much needed course correction on an agency that went rogue in promulgating CPP.”

Gene Barr, President, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry: “We commend the EPA for taking into consideration the numerous concerns that were raised about the Clean Power Plan.  When the Obama administration’s rule was first unveiled, the PA Chamber warned that the increased costs associated with the Clean Power Plan would jeopardize the Commonwealth’s position as an energy leader...We welcome the EPA’s shift to an approach that recognizes the unique energy landscapes within each state.  Pennsylvania’s diverse energy portfolio has led to lower energy costs for the Commonwealth’s consumers and plays a significant role in the country’s overall energy independence. With increased regulatory certainty from Washington, our members will continue to invest and develop solutions to grow our economy and meet our environmental goals.”

Hal Quinn, President and CEO, National Mining Association: “In this rule, the EPA has accomplished what eluded the prior administration: providing a clear, legal pathway to reduce emissions while preserving states’ authority over their own grids. ACE replaces a proposal that was so extreme that the Supreme Court issued an unprecedented stay of the proposal, having recognized the economic havoc the mere suggestion of such overreach was causing in the nation’s power grid.”

Tyler White, President, Kentucky Coal Association: “We thank Administrator Wheeler and the EPA for finalizing the ACE rule.  For a state like Kentucky which produces nearly 75% of its power from coal, the CPP would have devastated the economic vitality of our state’s ability to produce affordable reliable energy.  By replacing the legally flawed CPP with the ACE Rule, we will ensure states have the ability to regulate emissions in an efficient and logical manner.  For a state like Kentucky we are able to produce affordable and abundant energy which feeds to the industrial ecosystem and provides affordable electricity for the citizens of the Commonwealth."