EPA announces plan to replace Clean Power Plan

CHARLESTON — As President Donald J. Trump was preparing for his visit to West Virginia Tuesday, several officeholders were praising his administration’s move to end the “war on coal.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday it plans to replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP) enacted under the Obama Administration with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which gives states more leeway in power plant emission controls.

“The EPA’s proposal represents a crucial step in restoring law and order,” Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement after the announcement. “The Affordable Clean Energy rule makes important strides in reversing the Obama-era Power Plan. Our coalition will closely examine the proposal and continue to support President Trump’s administration in implementing this important change to protect West Virginia coal miners and those who depend upon their success.”

Morrisey said the rule “embraces” his stand to have a “more individualized approach to rulemaking with respect for the rule of law and the important role of the states, as opposed to the Obama-era, one-size-fits-all model that promised to devastate coal communities across the state and nation.”

Morrisey has in the past argued the Obama EPA overstepped its authority by transforming the nation’s energy industry, double regulating fossil-fired power plants and forcing states to fundamentally shift their energy portfolios away from coal-fired generation.

In March 2017, Trump signed the Energy Independence Executive Order at the EPA. That order started the process of reviewing the plan and the proposed new rule is the result of that order.

The EPA developed the rule after holding public hearings on federal regulations, including two in Charleston in November 2017.

According to the EPA, the ACE rule allows state’s to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing plants with new emission guidelines that “empowers states, promotes energy independence, and facilitates economic growth and job creation.”

Both Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va) and Sen. Joe Manchin also praised the plan.

“The CPP was a complete overreach by the federal government,” Capito said. “Not only was the one-size-fits-all approach disastrous for West Virginia’s coal industry, but there was also absolutely no consideration for the economic effects the plan would have on an energy-rich state like ours. I’m encouraged the EPA’s newly proposed Affordable Clean Energy plan allows state input and clearly signals the War on Coal is over.”

“I have spoken out against the Clean Power Plan since day one, and I am pleased that we are closer to ending this failed policy that hurt West Virginia,” Manchin said. “I’m proud that the U.S. Senate and the House passed my resolution to roll back President Obama’s dangerous regulation. I am hopeful that this new approach from the Trump Administration will help stabilize energy jobs.”

Gov. Jim Justice called the EPA’s proposed ACE rule a “big win” for West Virginia.

“President Trump has followed through on his promise to get rid of the Clean Power Plan and use American energy to fuel economic growth,” he said. “The ACE rule will help West Virginia big time and will bring back energy jobs like you can’t imagine. To have this announcement on the day President Trump visits West Virginia for the sixth time is just incredible, and another testament to his commitment to helping our great state and country.”

The EPA will accept public comment on ACE for 60 days and hold a public hearing before final action.

By:  Charlie Boothe
Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph