Federal Court Tosses Trump’s Clean Power Plan Replacement
Trump's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which was finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2019, moved away from imposing national limits on greenhouse gas emissions, instead allowing states to set their own. It also did away with a provision mandating that utilities move away from coal. The new rule would have reduced electricity emissions by less than half of what would be necessary to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius and, according to the EPA's initial estimate, would have led to between 470 and 1,400 additional air pollution deaths a year by 2030.
"Despite [EPA Administrator] Andrew Wheeler's frequent protests, the EPA's role is to protect the American people from dangerous pollution and act on the greatest threat to our country: the climate crisis," Sierra Club Chief Climate Council Joanne Spalding said in a statement. "The Dirty Power Plan didn't do either of these things and the court rightly vacated it."
At stake in Tuesday's decision was the meaning of the Clean Air Act. The Trump EPA argued that the law only allows the agency to limit pollution from individual sources, not across an entire sector, Reuters reported. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit disagreed.
"Because the ACE Rule rests squarely on the erroneous legal premise that the statutory text expressly foreclosed consideration of measures other than those that apply at and to the individual source, we conclude that the EPA fundamentally 'has misconceived the law,' such that its conclusion 'may not stand,'" the three-judge panel ruled.
Some environmental groups hailed the ruling as a boon to the incoming Biden administration, since they will now have an easier time replacing it, The Washington Post reported.
"Today's decision is the perfect Inauguration Day present for America," Environmental Defense Fund Senior Attorney Ben Levitan said in a statement. "It confirms that the Trump administration's dubious attempt to get rid of commonsense limits on climate pollution from power plants was illegal, it reaffirms that the Clean Air Act and the Endangerment Finding are the law of the land, and it restores the vibrancy of the rule of law. Now we can turn to the critically important work of protecting Americans from climate change and creating new clean energy jobs."
However, the Washington Post reported that the Clean Power Plan also ran into legal challenges. When the Trump administration took office, the plan had been put on hold by the Supreme Court while the court battle continued. In a dissent from part of the ruling Tuesday, Judge Justin Walker, a Trump appointee, said the EPA never had the authority to implement the Clean Power Plan either.
Columbia Law School Professor Michael Gerrard noted that Walker was a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
"[The dissent could be a bad sign for how the Supreme Court might rule if these issues ever go there," he told The Washington Post.
- Pruitt Guts the Clean Power Plan: How Weak Will the New EPA ... ›
- It's Official: Trump Administration to Repeal Clean Power Plan ... ›
- 'Deadly' Clean Power Plan Replacement ›
To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.
A new EarthxTV film special calls for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people that call it home. EarthxTV.org
- Meet the 'Women Warriors' Protecting the Amazon Forest - EcoWatch ›
- Indigenous Tribes Are Using Drones to Protect the Amazon ... ›
- Amazon Rainforest Will Collapse by 2064, New Study Predicts ... ›
- Deforestation in Amazon Skyrockets to 12-Year High Under Bolsonaro ›
- Amazon Rainforest on the Brink of Turning Into a Net Carbon Emitter ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Anke Rasper
"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.
- World Leaders Fall Short of Meeting Paris Agreement Goal - EcoWatch ›
- UN Climate Change Conference COP26 Delayed to November ... ›
- 5 Years After Paris: How Countries' Climate Policies Match up to ... ›
- Biden Win Puts World 'Within Striking Distance' of 1.5 C Paris Goal ... ›
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?
- This Indian Startup Turns Polluted Air Into Climate-Friendly Tiles ... ›
- How to Win the Fight Against Plastic - EcoWatch ›
In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
- Appalachian Fracking Boom Was a Jobs Bust, Finds New Report ... ›
- Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water ... ›
- Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Much Higher Than ... ›
Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.
- Kenyan Engineer Recycles Plastic Into Bricks Stronger Than ... ›
- Could IKEA's New Tiny House Help Fight the Climate Crisis ... ›