Herring files suit to block Trump’s Dirty Power Rule
Attorney General Mark Herring today joined a coalition of 22 states and seven local governments in announcing a lawsuit against the EPA over its Affordable Clean Energy – aka Dirty Power – rule, which allegedly violates the Clean Air Act and will have almost no impact on reversing climate change.
The Dirty Power Rule replaced the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on existing fossil-fueled power plants, one of the largest sources of climate change pollution. The EPA’s rule rolls-back these limits and will have virtually no impact on these emissions, prolonging the nation’s reliance on polluting, expensive coal power plants and obstructing progress of states toward clean, renewable, and affordable electricity generation.
“The Trump Administration has made no attempts to even pretend like they are concerned about climate change in our country and this replacement of the Clean Power Plan makes that painfully obvious,” said Herring. “Virginia is particularly susceptible to the devastating effects of climate change and sea level rise, especially in Hampton Roads where the region is facing billions of dollars in infrastructure and coastal resiliency measures over the next few decades. I will continue to fight this new Dirty Power Rule and do everything I can to ensure that effective measures are put in place to cut down on pollution and reverse climate change in our country.”
The new Dirty Power Rule barely mentions climate change and does not recognize the dire threats it poses to people’s health, the economy, or the environment. Additionally, the rule does not comply with requirements included in the federal Clean Air Act that says limits on air pollutants must be based on the emissions reductions achievable through the “best system of emission reduction” or shifting from coal-fueled generation to a less carbon-intensive generation.
One of the most efficient and cost-effective “best systems” is a cap-and-trade program, that has proven to be a successful way to comply with the Clean Air Act requirements and reduce power plant emissions. The Dirty Power Rule prohibits states from participating in cap-and-trade programs, which means that the new rule is not in compliance with the Clean Air Act.
According to the Dirty Power Rule, the “best system” would be to upgrade equipment at coal power plants. This will reduce emissions by only 0.7 percent more by 2030 than if no rule existed, according to the EPA’s only analysis. The EPA also found that emissions of one or more of three pollutants – carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) – will increase in 18 states in 2030 compared to no Dirty Power Rule.