A US court has dismissed one of President Donald Trump’s iconic efforts to roll back environmental regulations just a day before he left office, removing a rule meant to support the struggling coal industry.
Affordable clean energy rule Electricity industry emissions coverage was introduced in 2019 to replace the more stringent curbs adopted under Barack Obama’s administration.
Federal judges on Tuesday overturned the rule and sent it back to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for reconsideration, giving the new Biden administration a clean slate to reinvent politics.
The EPA’s leadership will change following the inauguration on Wednesday of President-elect Joe Biden, who pledged to put the United States on track to eliminate carbon emissions from the energy sector in less than 15 years.
Mr Trump, on the other hand, campaigned in 2016 to pledge to restart coal mining in the United States, speaking at rallies in front of a backdrop of helmeted supporters where signs read “Trump Digs Coal.”
The ACE rule was designed to ease strain on the energy industry while complying with legal requirements under the federal Clean Air Act. He pushed individual coal-fired power plants to become more efficient, with the potential consequence of keeping them running longer and more often, which in turn boosted demand for coal.
While the Obama-era Clean Power Plan addressed the power system as a whole, Mr. Trump’s EPA, under Administrator Andrew Wheeler, argued that it could only impose curbs on individual factories that ” under the legal obligations of the Federal Air Quality Act.
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the EPA’s self-imposed limitations were based on a “tortured” reading of the law that misinterpreted well-understood grammatical conventions.
“The position of the EPA depends largely on words that do not exist,” the court wrote.
The move came amid litigation pitting environmental groups and more liberal states against some energy companies and other states, including those that operate large mining operations.
Michelle Bloodworth, president of America’s Power, which represents coal producers and companies with coal-fired power plants, said her group was disappointed with the move.
“We had intervened in the case to help defend the rule because we believe the ACE rule follows the plain language of the Clean Air Act, and the rule takes a sane approach to regulating the fleet’s carbon dioxide emissions. the country’s coal, whose emissions have fallen dramatically even without carbon regulations, ”she said.
Environmentalists applauded the news. “The court’s decision to quit former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler Dirty Power Plan is the Trump administration’s proper EPA bookend, which has been defined by a blanket submission to the fossil fuel industry and dozens of legal defeats brought on by public health and environmental organizations, ”says the Sierra Club.
Hana Vizcarra, a lawyer in the Environmental and Energy Law Program at Harvard University, said the court opinion gave the Biden administration a clean slate to work on gas emissions at Harvard University. greenhouse effect of existing power plants and the flexibility to do so.
“Without ACE in place, the Biden administration can immediately begin the work of designing a new approach,” she said.
The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan never took effect after the Supreme Court ordered its suspension in 2016. It demanded that the electric power sector’s carbon emissions fall by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030.
In fact, emissions from the electric power sector have already fallen by more than a third from 2005 emissions to 1.6 billion tonnes in 2019, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Utilities and power producers to close dozens of coal-fired power plants, turning to cleaner natural gas, wind and solar power for most of the new capacity.