Media Coverage: Tim McMahan on Western States’ Response to Replacement of Clean Power Plan with Affordable Clean Energy Rule

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“The Pacific states are likely to solidify this ‘green wall’ with carbon legislation that may spur other states to take up the mantle of the Paris Climate Agreement. This experiment will challenge propositions of ‘green job’ creation and whether such legislation stimulates new industries without offsetting impacts of lost industrial jobs.”

—Tim McMahan in North American Windpower / Solar Industry.

A statement drafted for media use by attorney Tim McMahan and his environmental and energy colleagues was quoted in part in Solar Industry in an article titled “U.S. EPA Officially Proposes Clean Power Plan Replacement” (also published by North American Windpower as “EPA Proposes Affordable Clean Energy Rule To Replace Clean Power Plan”) and in RTO Insider in an article titled “EPA: CPP Replacement Could Boost Coal-Fired Power by 6%.” All were published August 21, 2018.

The articles discuss the reaction to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which would replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and establish emission guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions at power plants.

EPA estimates the ACE rule could reduce 2030 CO2 emissions by as much as 1.5 percent from projected levels without the CPP, and upon full implementation by the states, emissions for the U.S. power sector could be up to 34 percent below 2005 levels, greater than projected CO2 emissions reductions for the CPP. The agency also says the rule will result in 0.2 to 0.5 percent lower electric prices in 2025 and increase coal production for use in the power sector by 4.5 to 5.8 percent.

Opponents of the ACE Rule argue that advances in solar and other renewable technologies negate the need to “contrive out-of-market solutions to keep expensive and polluting power plants afloat in order to provide Americans the electricity they need.” They also point out that jobs in the clean energy sector already outnumber jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

McMahan says he expects at the very least for the Western states to be resistant to the requirements of the ACE Rule: “Spurred by the Trump administration’s announcement that the United States will abandon commitments President Obama made in the Paris Climate Agreement, western seaboard elected officials are highly motivated to take action on climate change, notwithstanding the Trump administration’s actions today to replace the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.”

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