ACC Statement on EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Posted by: Terry Headley
WASHINGTON, DC, August 21, 2018– The American Coal Council appreciates the administration’s continuing focus on regulatory reform, and EPA’s proposal to replace the prior administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule announced today is another big step forward. The CPP as promulgated in 2015 was unprecedented in its scope and reach. In practical terms, it was a nationwide strategy to force the power sector away from coal, treat natural gas as a transition fuel, and unwisely and unrealistically rely on energy efficiency and renewable energy for providing electricity on demand 24/7/365.
The U.S. Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of issuing a stay to the CPP rule in early 2016 before the lower court had even ruled on the many legal challenges that were filed including by more than half of the states.
EPA has acknowledged that the CPP rule exceeded its authority. The ACE proposal “returns to an interpretation of the Clean Air Act that is consistent with the Agency’s longstanding practice and historical understanding of the scope, and the limits, of its legal authority under section 111” as stated in EPA’s Legal Overview of the rule.
This includes a return to an “inside the fence line” basis for determining the Best System of Emissions Reduction (BSER) for greenhouse gases. The BSER will apply to individual stationary electric generating sources, rather than the entire electric grid as the CPP’s BSER was inappropriately designed to do. The ACE rule focuses on efficiency improvements to reduce emissions. Importantly, it addresses the longstanding regulatory “New Source Review” barrier to improvement projects at power plants.
Replacing the CPP with ACE will result in $3.4 billion in net benefits as projected by EPA.
EPA also recognizes the important role of the states in the ACE rule, and appropriately rebalances the federal-state regulatory relationships.
The ACE proposal is a prudent approach by EPA to remedying the CPP breach.
The American Coal Council represents the collective interests of the American coal industry from the hole-in-the-ground to the plug-in-the-wall ~ in advocating for coal as an economic, abundant and environmentally sound fuel source.