Nine U.S. Utilities File Petition Against Trump’s Power Plant Rule

Coalition consists of some of the nation’s largest electric utilities

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Eight other utilities along with Con Edison (ConEd) that have invested in emissions controls file legal action to reverse a Trump administration attempt to roll back stricter regulations. Trump’s rule aims to replace Obama Administration's Clean Power with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it expects carbon emissions from the electric sector to fall by as much as 35% below 2005 levels by 2030, under the ACE rule. When the Obama administration unveiled the Clean Power Plan, it said it would reduce carbon emissions from the power sector 32% by 2030.

ConEd claims the Trump rule undermines efforts already under way to cut greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy such as wind and solar, electric vehicle infrastructure and other clean technologies— in which the companies have spent heavily because their state governments passed laws requiring their use.

In a statement released on the day the petition was filed, the coalition said the EPA’s decision fails to acknowledge the ways in which they and others within the power sector have already reduced their carbon emissions while maintaining reliability, the coalition members are challenging the decision and seeking to have it overturned.

In addition to ConEd, the alliance, which calls itself the Power Companies Climate Coalition, consists of Exelon, National Grid, PG&E, Public Service Enterprise Group, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, New York Power Authority, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and Seattle City Light. With operations spanning 49 states and the District of Columbia, the coalition members collectively serve over 23 million customer accounts (estimated at over 50 million people) and own or operate over 84,000 megawatts of generating capacity from an increasingly diverse set of resources, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar. 

The petition for review was filed Sept. 6 but was not widely reported by media outlets. More than 20 states and several cities filed a similar challenge in August.

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