Joining 22-state lawsuit, CA Attorney General Becerra calls Trump energy plan ‘flimsy, fake’

MAIDSVILLE, WV - AUGUST 21: The Longview Power Plant, a coal-fired plant, stands on August 21, 2018 in Maidsville, West Virginia. The plant's single unit generates 700 net megawatts of electricity from run-of-mine coal and natural gas. In a stop in West Virginia tonight, President Donald Trump is expected to announce a proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants. Environmental activists say this would be a massive blow to reducing carbon emissions. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The Longview Power Plant, a coal-fired plant, in Maidsville, West Virginia.

At a press conference Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the state has joined 21 others, led by New York, in suing the Trump regime for its bogus replacement of the 2014 Clean Power Plan. The lawsuit was filed in the D.C. Circuit Court.

The CPP was a rule designed by the Obama administration to cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants by means of federally guided state plans, with an emphasis on switching to renewable sources of energy. The replacement plan, carrying the misleading name of the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would focus on making coal-burners more efficient but allow states to come up with their own emissions plans. The rule has drawn strong criticism from environmental advocates ever since it was proposed a year ago this month. The ACE rule was finalized in June.

The CPP, which was hammered out over several years, provided states with guidelines for plans to cut emissions 30% by 2030 compared with the 2005 baseline. It was seen as the main tool for the United States in meeting its pledge of emissions reductions under the Paris climate accord. But thanks to a lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency by Scott Pruitt—then attorney general of Oklahoma, and soon to be Donald Trump’s first appointee to oversee the EPA—the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the plan in 2016 while the 27-state lawsuit Pruitt initiated worked its way through the courts. That became moot when the EPA under Trump announced it would come up with its own rule. 

Under the CPP, states would have been spurred by incentives to push polluting coal-fired power plants offline sooner if they were unable to meet the emissions goals. But the ACE rule focuses attention on making individual power plants more efficient rather than guiding the creation of state emissions plans. Although ACE would somewhat reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter compared to doing nothing, the EPA itself found that compared with implementing the CPP, there would be an estimated 1,400 additional deaths annually under ACE. But, hey, a small price to pay for keeping some coal plants running longer.

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