EDF, Allies File Lawsuit Challenging Trump’s “Inadequate” and “Dangerous” Clean Power Plan Rollback

August 14, 2019
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – August 14, 2019) Environmental Defense Fund and a coalition of 10 other health and environmental groups filed a lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s repeal and weak replacement for the Clean Power Plan – a harmful rollback that could result in more air pollution from coal-fired power plants in many states, and that EDF has previously called “a disgrace.”

EDF and its allies filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today against the administration’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which is neither affordable nor clean. ACE was designed to supplant the historic Clean Power Plan.

The petition comes one day after 22 states and seven local governments filed a lawsuit against the ACE rule.

“The Clean Power Plan is a powerful tool to address the severe and increasing dangers of climate change. The Trump administration’s replacement is inadequate to protect Americans’ health and safety from the climate crisis – and may result in more harmful air pollution in many states than no rule at all,” said EDF Lead Attorney Tomás Carbonell. “We look forward to presenting a compelling case to the court about why the Trump administration’s irresponsible and dangerous attack on our nation’s Clean Power Plan is unlawful.”

The Clean Power Plan established America’s first and only nationwide limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants. It would reduce climate pollution to 36 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and would reduce deadly soot and smog.

The Trump administration repealed the Clean Power Plan and finalized its ACE rule in June. The destructive replacement standard will provide no meaningful reduction in dangerous climate pollution, and analysis by EDF shows that 16 states could see an increase in climate pollution because of it. Independent experts have also found that the ACE rule could increase the pollution that leads to soot and smog in as many as 14 states plus the District of Columbia, relative to “business as usual” without the rule.

Opponents of the Clean Power Plan have been fighting for years to stop it. Legal challenges to the original plan have been pending in the D.C. Circuit since 2015. Since 2017, the Trump administration has repeatedly urged the D.C. Circuit not to decide the case while it worked on a rule to repeal and replace the Clean Power Plan. In the meantime, evidence about the dangers of the climate change crisis has continued to mount, and states and power companies across the country have moved ahead toward reducing climate pollution from power plants – in some cases by much more than the Clean Power Plan called for.

The Appalachian Mountain Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Air Council, Clean Air Task Force, Clean Wisconsin, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club joined EDF on today’s petition.

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