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22 States Sue Trump Administration Over Carbon Rule Replacement

Washington, August 14: New York and California are among the twenty two states that have challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s replacement of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, arguing it prolongs the reliance U.S. on coal power and obstructs states that pursue cleaner electricity generation. The petition filed by 22 states and 7 cities in a Federal appellate court in Washington sought that the rule be vacated. The petitioners argue that the EPA’sEPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule will not curb rising carbon emissions from power plants. Instead, it will prolong the operation of dirtier coal plants. The suit is one among the handfuls undertaken by Democratic-led states to challenge the Trump administration’s series of rollbacks of major rules in the energy sector. California, presently at odds with the independent agency over the state’s ability to enforce stricter vehicle emissions rules, has filed 55 lawsuits against the Trump administration. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler unveiled the ACE in June, which set guidelines for states to develop performance standards for power plants to boost the amount of power produced relative to the amount of coal burned. In contrast, Obama’s Clean Power Plan had aimed to slash power plant carbon emissions by more than a third by the year 2030. The plan proposed that it be done by pushing utilities to shift from coal to cleaner fuels like natural gas, as well as solar and wind power. The states and cities that sued the Trump administration said the independent agency ACE’s rule solely needs utilities to undertake modest upgrades at power plants that may not end in significant emissions reductions. This, they argue, doesn’t acknowledge efforts by states that have enforced emission programs to slash greenhouse emissions, like California and New York. “The ACE plan tries to reverse the progress California and other states are making and to keep the oldest and dirtiest coal plants on life support,” said California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols. “It fails the tests of law and economics.”

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