Legal & Regulatory

Nine Utility Companies Suing Trump Over Emissions Rule

A coalition of nine utility companies is suing the Trump administration over its plan to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. New York-based Consolidated Edison said the Affordable Clean Energy, or ACE, rule undermines efforts the companies already have in place to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power generation.

The companies, who call their group the Power Companies Climate Coalition, said they have already spent considerable money on renewable energy projects, electric vehicle infrastructure, and other clean energy initiatives due to state government regulations. Other companies in the coalition include Exelon, National Grid, Pacific Gas & Electric, Public Service Enterprise Group, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, New York Power Authority, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and Seattle City Light.

The companies operate in 49 states and serve more than 23 million customers. Their suit comes on the heels of a similar move from some states and cities in August. The coalition’s petition was filed in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Sept. 6 but not widely reported at the time.

The coalition on Sept. 6 released a statement that said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ACE rule “fails to acknowledge the ways in which they and others within the power sector have already reduced their carbon emissions while maintaining reliability.” The ACE rule was finalized in June. It allows states to come up with their own plans to cut emissions from power plants, primarily through efficiency measures at coal-fired units rather than by regulation.

The CPP, proposed by the Obama-era EPA in 2014 and issued in 2015, had a goal to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power generation by more than a third from 2005 levels by 2030, primarily through the closure of coal-fired power plants. The CPP was never enacted after being stalled by several legal challenges.

Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine).

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