In-Depth: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced this joint resolution to repeal the EPA’s “Affordable Clean Energy Rule” (ACE) and restore carbon emissions standards for power plants:
“The EPA has a congressionally mandated duty to protect the human health and the environment. The EPA has abdicated its responsibility in promulgating this deeply flawed rule and the Senate will abdicate its responsibility if it fails to repeal the ACE rule. The ACE rule presents a major step backward for the United States’ clean energy future, putting downwind states like Maryland at greater risk of pollution generated elsewhere. We can and must do better to protect our constituents, human health, and the environment.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) adds:
“For months, Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans have shunned vital proposals to improve American’s lives, including those to address the climate crisis and gun violence epidemic, save protections for people with pre-existing conditions, secure our elections, get big special interest money out of politics and more. Senate Democrats will not sit around and wait for Senator McConnell to finally wake up and take action, so next week we will force a vote to repeal the EPA’s dangerous rule that weakens critical standards to reduce emissions from power plants that significantly contribute to the climate crisis. The Trump administration’s Dirty Power Scam comes at a time when Americans are demanding we take bold action to confront the climate crisis and it must be reversed.”
When the EPA announced the final ACE rule on June 19, 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said:
“Today, we are delivering on one of President Trump’s core priorities: ensuring the American public has access to affordable, reliable energy in a manner that continues our nation’s environmental progress. Unlike the Clean Power Plan, ACE adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford. When ACE is fully implemented, we expect to see U.S. power sector CO2 emissions fall by as much as 35 percent below 2005 levels.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised the ACE rule in June 2019:
"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."
This resolution has 17 Senate cosponsors, including 16 Democrats and one Independent.
Of Note: The ACE rule establishes emission guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) at their coal-fired electric generating units (EGUs). In this notice, the EPA also repealed the Obama-administration Clean Power Plan, and issued new implementing regulations for ACE and future rules.
Resources for the Future identifies 10 flaws in the ACE rule which it says “suggest that EPA as not identified the best system of emission reduction in the power sector.” It concludes, “ACE is a rule with self-inflicted wounds. Even though EPA has argued that ACE represents the upper limit of its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, each decision it has made in identifying BSER and procedures for compliance seems to identify the least EPA can do to reduce emissions.”
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Schroptschop)