EDF, Allies Urge D.C. Circuit to Strike Down Unlawful Rollback of Clean Power Plan

July 30, 2020
Shira Langer, (202) 572-3254, slanger@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – July 30, 2020) Today EDF and a broad coalition of health and environmental NGOs, states, power companies and clean energy associations forcefully rebutted the Trump administration’s attempts to defend the rollback of the Clean Power Plan in reply briefs filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. EDF and allies asked the court to strike down the Trump EPA’s July 2019 rule repealing the Clean Power Plan and replacing it with the cynically misnamed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, and to order the agency to  fulfill its statutory obligation to establish meaningful protections against climate- and health-harming pollution from existing power plants.The reply brief filed today by EDF and other health and environmental NGOs states:

“The newest version of the agency’s argument [for repealing the Clean Power Plan] is inconsistent, unclear, and unpersuasive…. EPA’s defense of the toothless ACE rule is meritless…. EPA’s brief confirms that the agency disregarded the central statutory objective of emission reduction, and offers no satisfactory answer to record evidence that ACE will actually increase emissions in many states.”

Finalized in 2015, the Clean Power Plan established America’s only nationwide limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants — the nation’s largest industrial source of climate- destabilizing pollution. Last summer, the Trump administration decided to scrap the Clean Power Plan and replace it with the ACE rule, which will lead to no meaningful reduction in dangerous climate pollution — and is projected to lead to increases in harmful soot- and smog-forming pollution at nearly one in five of the nation’s coal-fired power plants. This pollution increase would harm communities of color and low-income communities who already bear the burden of a disproportionate amount of air pollution in their neighborhoods. 

As the reply brief filed today explains, the administration had no persuasive defense for this attack on a vital climate and clean air safeguard.  

Thirteen other health and environmental NGOs, twenty-three states and eight local governments, nine power companies, and several clean energy trade associations are also suing EPA over the ACE rule. A diverse array of experts and organizations have also filed amicus briefs forcefully opposing the rollback of the Clean Power Plan. That group includes five of the nation’s most prominent health and medical associations, the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU Law School, seven leading experts in administrative law, one of the authors of the Clean Air Act, organizations dedicated to the conservation of national parks, a group of leading climate scientists and economists, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Oral argument in the case has not yet been scheduled. 

You can view all of the legal documents in this case on our website.

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