States respond to release of final ACE rule, rollback of Clean Power Plan

June 19, 2019

On June 19, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump Administration announced a final regulation to be instituted in place of the Clean Power Plan, known as the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. Below are statements from state officials in response. (Note: Additional statements will be added as they are released.)

California

Governor Gavin Newsom: "The deceptively named Affordable Clean Energy Rule fails to protect Americans from the rising environmental and health costs of climate change – and our children will pay the most because of dirty air, deadly heat waves, droughts and wildfires. The Trump Administration is once again prioritizing corporate greed over people’s health. It’s a disgrace and it cannot stand. California and a coalition of states will initiate a legal challenge against the Trump Administration’s continued attempts to prop up the coal industry by ignoring sensible efforts to use cleaner, healthier and more efficient energy sources.”

Connecticut

Governor Ned Lamont: “There is no denying that the Trump administration’s rollback of the Clean Power Plan threatens the environment and the health of our residents. We fought this rollback every step of the way and we will continue to advocate for a federal policy that puts the health and welfare of our citizens, and addresses the threat of climate change, before the interests of America’s largest polluters.”

Commissioner Katie Dykes, Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection: "This regressive step by the EPA is a major disappointment. We need a federal policy that meets the challenge of climate change. We will stand against this and other rollbacks while at the same time leading the nation on energy and climate policy and working with like-minded states to advance policies that protect the health and welfare of our residents."

Delaware

Governor John Carney: "I’m disappointed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to replace the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which removes a strong incentive for states and the Federal government to work together to protect and improve air quality. Delaware citizens and our economy will be negatively affected by the ACE Rule. Rising average temperatures and prolonged heat waves pose critical health risks to Delaware farmers, outdoor workers, children, and the elderly. Changing climate conditions will increase local levels of particulate matter and ground-level ozone, which increase the risk our residents face of premature death and chronic heart and lung problems, and many of these pollutants are transported from states to the west of us. These threats will only increase if we do not take a stance as a nation and a global community to reduce the human emissions of greenhouse gases that feed rapid climate change. We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change and the dangers it poses to all of us." 

Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan: "Maryland will continue to lead on climate and the environment despite these shortsighted federal rollbacks. This disappointing move underscores—more than ever—the importance of state-led clean and renewable energy solutions."

Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles: "Maryland will continue to lead on climate and the environment in spite of federal rollbacks and roadblocks. This disappointing rule underscores more than ever before the importance of Maryland’s clean and renewable energy solutions and regional programs, like RGGI, that continue to grow."

Massachusetts

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs: “The Baker-Polito Administration remains staunchly opposed to the EPA’s new rule and believes operating under the pre-existing Clean Power Plan is more responsible and will help ensure Massachusetts remains a national leader in securing a clean energy future and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Commonwealth will continue to focus on decreasing emissions and addressing climate change through our historic procurements of hydropower and offshore wind energy, participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and commitment to emissions reductions targets.”

New Jersey

Commissioner Catherine McCabe, Dept. of Environmental Protection: “The Trump Administration’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule is a betrayal of America’s future generations. By encouraging more coal-fired power generation, this federal action flies in the face of the scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels is causing climate change and harming the health of our people. Instead of facing up to the urgent challenge of reducing carbon emissions, as New Jersey and many other states are doing, the Trump Administration is taking us backwards.”

New York 

Governor Andrew Cuomo: "The Federal Government's toothless replacement of the Clean Power Plan will increase emissions, air pollution, and extreme weather, and further jeopardize the nation's promising clean energy economy to the detriment of the American people.

"While the Trump administration's EPA continues to put our economy, children and planet at risk, New York is leading the nation and accomplishing real results with the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act that establishes the most aggressive greenhouse gas emissions targets in the United States.

"But we cannot do it alone, and if Washington and the rest of the nation need a model they should look to New York as we lead the transition to a clean energy economy, protect the health and well-being of our residents and attract clean energy jobs of tomorrow."

Oregon

Dept. of Environmental Quality: "The federal EPA’s recent announcement of its “Affordable Clean Energy Rule" is one of Washington D.C.’s biggest pollution rollbacks to date. The rule will interfere with states’ ability to protect public health and the environment. Oregonians have made substantial progress in reducing pollution resulting from our use of electricity, but this federal action will make regional cooperation more difficult. Under the Clean Power Plan, which was repealed as part of the EPA’s new rule, Oregon would have worked with other states in the region to find the most cost efficient ways to reduce power plant emissions. EPA’s new rules relax the standards for power plants and remove the opportunities to find cost savings.

“This unfortunate step underscores the value of the recently signed Oregon Environmental Protection Act. Oregon DEQ will now be developing recommendations to the state Environmental Quality Commission on actions that could offset the federal government’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan,” said Richard Whitman, director of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

Oregon’s Attorney General announced yesterday that the state is joining a coalition of other states that will challenge the new EPA rule." 

Pennsylvania

Wolf Administration: "The ACE rule is a dangerous step backwards at a time that leadership to confront climate change is desperately needed. The Wolf administration has made addressing climate change a priority, while this rule makes it clear that the Trump administration is not. Governor Wolf recently announced the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan, set the state’s first-ever greenhouse gas emission reduction goal, and joined the US Climate Alliance. The Wolf Administration will continue to address the climate crisis head on, with or without federal leadership.

"As DEP pointed out in comments on the draft proposal, the ACE rule would lead to increased carbon emissions at a time that Pennsylvania, the United States, and the world needs to be reducing emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Pennsylvania is already experiencing climate impacts – heavier storms, flooding, and a rise in Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. The Clean Power Plan gave the Commonwealth an option to tailor a Pennsylvania-specific plan that would have met our energy and economic needs. EPA’s new focus results in negligible emission reductions through costly upgrades at coal-fired power plants and misses the opportunity to diversify energy resources and promote cleaner alternatives.

"The Wolf Administration is disappointed in the lack of federal leadership shown on this important issue, and that the ACE rule not only ignores the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community, but also ignores the Trump administration’s own National Climate Assessment that highlights the need to act aggressively and immediately."

Washington

Governor Jay Inslee and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson: "Today’s action is one of the most dangerous steps taken by the Trump administration to date for the health of our families, our environment and our economy. Our nation and our planet cannot afford for the federal government to be a bystander in the climate crisis, and we will challenge this unlawful action in court.

"By finalizing this plan, the EPA is abandoning its legal and moral responsibility to protect Americans against the harmful effects of carbon pollution, and sending a clear signal that it cares more about propping up the dirtiest sources of energy than it does about protecting the American people. Their own analysis acknowledges the plan will cause thousands of additional people to die and suffer from illnesses from increased pollution in this country. What’s worse, the EPA has somehow made its plan even weaker and more feckless — increasing carbon emissions compared to its original proposal last year.

“This rule effectively leaves it to individual states to protect themselves from the harms of climate change, and leaves the United States isolated in the world, actively undermining the progress other nations are making to reduce their carbon emissions. States like Washington will continue to press forward, because it’s clear we must take the lead. Our communities have experienced the dire consequences of inaction, including horrific wildfires, extreme heat and dangerous flooding. We have also proven that bold climate action goes hand-in-hand with creating jobs and building a strong economy. That’s why Washington passed 100 percent clean energy and a full suite of other policies to reduce emissions across sectors. But carbon emissions and pollution do not respect borders, and without a strong federal partner we are leaving our children and grandchildren vulnerable to an increasingly hostile climate.

“The Trump administration has chosen to ignore the facts, the clear science, and the letter of the law. The EPA has a legal obligation — as established by the bipartisan Clean Air Act and subsequent court rulings — to keep Americans safe from dirty and polluted air and the impacts of climate change. We can’t and won’t stand for this abdication of responsibility."

About the Clean Power Plan Repeal and ACE proposal

Over the past two years, the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) has worked with state leaders to defend against attempts to repeal or weaken important federal greenhouse gas regulations. In addition to building a strong legal record, state comments demonstrate to the international community that despite the lack of federal leadership, a bipartisan coalition of states strongly supports reducing GHG emissions.