Federal court strikes down major Trump climate rollback – Affordable Clean Energy rule

February 6, 2021

In a last-minute action at President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court struck down one of his administration’s most momentous climate rollbacks on January 19th, saying officials acted illegally in issuing a new rule that eased federal regulation of air pollution from power plants according to a January 19th 2021 Associated Press report.

The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule from the Trump administration rule was based on a “mistaken reading of the Clean Air Act,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled, adding that the Environmental Protection Agency “fundamentally has misconceived the law.”

The decision is likely to give the incoming Biden administration a freer hand to regulate emissions from power plants, one of the major sources of climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions.

EPA spokeswoman Molly Block called the agency’s handling of the rule change “well-supported.” The court decision “risks injecting more uncertainty at a time when the nation needs regulatory stability,” she said.

“Today’s decision is the perfect Inauguration Day present for America,” said Ben Levitan, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups that had challenged the Trump rule in court.

A coalition of environmental groups, some state governments and others had challenged the Trump administration’s so-called ACE, rule for the power sector. The rule, which was made final in 2019, replaced the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature program to address climate change.

The court decision came on the last full day in office for the Trump administration. Under Trump, the EPA rolled back dozens of public health and environmental protections as the administration sought to cut regulation overall, calling much of it unnecessary and a burden to business.

Andrea McGimsey, senior director for Environment America’s “global warming solutions” campaign, said Trump’s “Dirty Power Plan” was “clearly a disastrous and misconceived regulation from the start. As the Trump administration leaves office, we hope this ruling will be reflective of a much brighter future” for renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, denounced “activist judges” on the appeals court who “seem intent on clearing the decks for the incoming Biden administration to issue punishing new climate regulations” that he said will shut down power plants and raise energy costs.

What this means to you
In a last-minute action on January 19th a federal appeals court struck down the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, one of Trump’s most momentous climate rollbacks, saying officials acted illegally in issuing a new rule that eased federal regulation of air pollution from power plants.

MIRATECH can help
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