Overview

Earlier this year we encouraged our members to oppose EPA’s initial “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” regarding its intent to withdraw the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Now EPA is requesting public comment on its proposed replacement for the CPP, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. You don’t have to be an expert to comment. See the suggested comments below.

Take Action

(1) Submit your Comment to EPA. By October 31st at 9pm PST, click here to submit your comment at regulations.gov.

(2) Share your comment with your members of congress.

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein: (415) 393-0707, (310) 914-7300, (202) 224-3841, or email.
  • Senator Kamala Harris: (415) 355-9041, (213) 894-5000, (202) 224-3553, or email.

Find your Representative:

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier - 11th district: (510) 620-1000, (202) 225-2095, or email.
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi - 12th district: (415) 556-4862, (202) 225-4965, or email.
  • Rep. Barbara Lee - 13th district: (510) 763-0370, (202) 225-2661, or email.
  • Rep. Jackie Speier - 14th district: (650) 342-0300, (202) 225-3531, or email.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell - 15th district: 510-370-3322, 202-225-5065, or email.

Suggested Comment

Note: It is best to personalize or modify the wording. You do not need to be a scientist or expert to submit your comments. You may also create your own comments using this information from SaveEPA.

The 2017 Climate Science Special Report written by 13 federal agencies contains overwhelming evidence that human-generated carbon emissions are the dominant cause of global warming, which is causing worsening floods, heat waves, droughts, sea-level rise, fires, hurricanes and storms. The 2018 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding vehicle fuel-efficiency standards showed that with our present rate of greenhouse gas emissions, the earth will experience a disastrous warming of 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. The report released October 8, 2018 from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of worsening food shortages and wildfires, coastal flooding, droughts, poverty and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040.

Urgent action is needed to reduce the greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are causing climate change using all the tools available to us. Yet EPA’s own documentation shows that the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule and proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) will worsen GHG emissions, cause more deaths and illness, damage property, infrastructure, crops and fisheries, and reduce Americans’ safety and security. This is counter to the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) purposes. EPA should act responsibly to reduce GHGs and co-pollutants by withdrawing ACE and implementing the CPP.

Coal and oil-fired power plants are one of the two largest sources of climate-changing CO2 in the U.S., so it is logical to regulate and reduce emissions from these plants. At best, ACE would reduce power plant CO2 emissions by less than one third the amount CPP would achieve, according to EPA’s analysis. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, hazardous pollutants that are generated alongside CO2, would be cut between 1 percent and 2 percent under the ACE rule, while the CPP would reduce those pollutants by 24 percent and 22 percent, respectively, leading to significantly better health outcomes for Americans.

While EPA’s 2015 analysis of the CPP showed the net benefits to range from between $26 billion to $45 billion in 2030, the ACE proposal’s net benefits would range from negative $1B (that is, harming the American public) to a positive benefit of $1.1 billion.

EPA’s justification for replacing the CPP is that it is illegal. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has not yet ruled. EPA should ask the court for its decision. If ruled illegal, the EPA should act responsibly, given all that is at stake, by calling on congress and the administration to enact legislation to require oil and coal-fired power plants to achieve CO2 reductions comparable to the CPP. If the CPP is upheld, it should be enacted immediately.

ACE sets no federal CO2 emissions limits but lets each state determine for itself whether to set a target to lower emissions or set no target at all. This cannot be supported scientifically, since global warming and pollutants do not recognize geographical boundaries. ACE gives states only one type of measure (increasing a plant’s heat rate) to use if they choose to reduce emissions, rather than the multiple, more flexible and more effective approaches allowed under the CPP. By allowing just one measure with limited efficacy, ACE provides an incentive to run plants more often, leading to more pollution. There is no scientific, technical or legal basis to make this restriction or provide this incentive.

ACE does nothing to make electricity use more efficient, which would lower consumers’ bills, whereas the CPP would. ACE would impose up to $10.8B in annual net costs on Americans in 2030, when compliance costs and loss of the CPP’s protections are taken into account.

ACE undermines pollution protections by eliminating long-standing CAA requirements that require power plants to install emission controls if the plants make major modifications. With ACE, EPA has created a new threshold test, without scientific, technical or legal basis, so that plants emitting more pollution as a result of running more often would be exempt from the requirement. This is directly counter to the purposes of the CAA.

By eliminating the CPP, the Agency would eliminate the significant job and economic growth generated by its incentives for cleaner and more efficient energy. EPA’s analysis shows that generation of clean renewable energy would be much less under ACE. This is a poor economic, social and environmental choice.

EPA’s 2015 CPP economic analysis shows large benefits that far exceed the costs, but with the ACE proposal the Agency has used a new, flawed cost-benefit analysis to artificially underweight environmental and health benefits and overstate financial costs. As part of this analysis, EPA fails to account for the global impacts of climate pollution, which science shows have a direct impact on Americans’ welfare and on national security.

See Also

The Science and Environment Team’s Previous Action: Stop EPA from Withdrawing the Clean Power Plan
SaveEPA: A Poor Replacement for the Clean Power Plan