News Releases from Headquarters›Office of the Administrator (AO)
Wheeler Kicks Off ACE Tour In Ohio and Kentucky
On Tuesday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler visited Ohio as part of the rollout for EPA’s new Affordable Clean Energy proposal. Wheeler engaged with Ohio leaders and explained how the proposed rule would benefit Ohio consumers and businesses by providing certainty to the electric generation market. This follows his tour last week in Kentucky, where Wheeler visited the Kentucky State Fair and discussed how Kentuckians would benefit from the proposed rule. See more coverage of the trips below.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT ACE IN OHIO
The Columbus Dispatch: Acting EPA Head Andrew Wheeler Says Proposed Clean-Air Changes Allow States More Leeway
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler offered additional insight Tuesday into the federal agency’s recently proposed energy rules, emphasizing the importance of allowing states to set their own efficiency plans.
Speaking in Columbus alongside newly elected U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson, a Zanesville Republican representing Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, Wheeler said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will issue efficiency guidelines to states for each type of power plant, which the states will use to “set the specific efficiency requirements on a plant-to-plant basis.”
States will have up to three years to tell the EPA how they plan to implement the standards, Wheeler said.
“If the states haven’t gone far enough, the EPA can always step in and go further,” he said.
The EPA’s proposed plan, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, is meant to take the place of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan never went into effect after numerous legal challenges.
“This will provide more flexibility to the states,” Wheeler said. “The Obama plan was more social engineering. What we’re doing is returning to the core basics of the Clean Air Act, which is working cooperatively with the states.”
“I don’t think it’s a step backward because the Obama regulation got held up in the courts and was never enacted,” Wheeler said, adding he believes the new plan will withstand any possible legal action.
Balderson, speaking at what he called his first official event as a congressman, said the EPA’s plan would benefit Ohio, specifically saying it will lower the cost of energy for businesses and consumers.
Balderson said he couldn’t specifically say whether the new plan would keep open any coal-fired power plants that were expected to shut down as a result of the Obama administration’s plan. But he said that will be part of a new conversation each state would be allowed to have.
“Let the state of Ohio make that plan and they can decide which plants seem to be running at an efficient level,” Balderson said.
Visiting Columbus Tuesday, acting administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler promoted President Trumps new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.
The plan replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) that failed to get off the ground due to litigation.
“This is very important for the State of Ohio and for the energy production here in Ohio,” said Wheeler. “It is going to allow the states more flexibility.”
Under the new plan, states will set the requirements for coal-fired plants to reach to become more efficient. They will have to do that by coming up with a plan to have coal-fired plants improve their heat rate.
The heat rate is how much heat is needed to generate a unit of power.
According to the EPA, the ACE rule will reduce emissions by 33-34% below 2005 levels by 2030...
Wheeler also claimed the ACE rule and allowing states to determine how to best meet the federal guidelines will help keep energy prices down by creating efficiencies.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT ACE IN KENTUCKY
The coal industry should benefit from President Donald Trump’s proposal to replace an emissions rule that put coal-fired power plants at a disadvantage, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday during a visit to Kentucky.
The earlier Obama-era plan would have forced many coal-fired power plants out of business, said acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
Coal plants have long been key customers for coal mined in Kentucky.
“This was a rule that really hurt the state of Kentucky,” Wheeler said of the Obama plan.
Trump’s rule would make it easier for coal-fired power plants to make upgrades aimed at increasing efficiency — which reduces emissions — without triggering requirements to install additional pollution-control technology.
Supporters say that will help plants stay in business that would have closed under Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which in turn will benefit the coal industry.
Kentucky and other states challenged Obama’s proposal and it never went into effect.
Barr called Obama’s plan a “top-down, Washington one-size-fits-all approach” that would have pushed up electricity costs.
Trump’s plan will protect the reliability of the power grid, help utilities improve efficiency and allow for environmental progress “in a way that makes sense for consumers,” Barr said.
EPA projected that Trump’s plan would lead to an increase of 4.5 percent to 5.8 percent in U.S. coal production for use in making electricity.
“I think it definitely helps production in Kentucky,” particularly in the state’s western coalfield, said Tyler White, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.
Asked about the projection for more deaths and respiratory illness under Trump’s proposal, Wheeler said the nation’s air quality is 73 percent better than in the 1970s because of clean-air rules that remain in effect.
“The air quality continues to improve each year and will continue to improve going into the future,” Wheeler said.
Carbon emissions would continue going down under Trump’s plan, Wheeler said, though he acknowledged not as quickly as under Obama’s proposal.
However, Obama’s plan picked winners and losers among fuel types and appeared to go further than the law allowed, Wheeler said.
“I don’t consider this a rollback” because Obama’s plan never went into effect, Wheeler said.
Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency made a stop in Kentucky. Just three days prior, it made an announcement that would directly impact Kentuckians.
The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-powered plants.
"It's not something the EPA had ever been in the business of before and quite frankly I don't think the EPA should be in that business," Andrew Wheeler, the EPA's acting administrator, said. "I don't consider this a rollback because the Clean Power Plan never actually went into effect."
The Obama administration's Clean Power Plan is no longer after push back and a pitch for a new plan. The Affordable Clean Energy [ACE] rule pushes to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-powered plants.
Barr said, "We appreciate the fact that the administration, in reviewing the Clean Power Plan proposal recognized that it would cost the American economy almost $300 billion in diminished economic activity. We appreciate the fact that they recognized it would significantly increase utility costs."
Barr said affordable energy for Kentuckians is a priority.
He also said he doesn't expect the new rule to close any more coal-fired plants.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT ACE ON THE HILL
“The Obama Administration’s so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ offered a typical story from that era. An innocent-seeming name. A pleasant-sounding objective. But underneath, an intrusive regulatory regime -- built not on effective policy, but on far-left ideology. That’s why I am so grateful that, today, the Trump Administration is unveiling its plan to pare back this unfair, unworkable, and likely illegal policy.
“Remember, the far left tried to push through radical legislation like an energy tax through Congress. Well, enough of us knew it would have hurt American competitiveness, victimized the poor, and done little to actually give the American people a cleaner environment. But instead of learning from those failures, the Obama Administration tried to go it alone and impose their radical agenda unilaterally.
“This so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ they dreamed up would’ve had no meaningful effect on global emissions. It would, however, have packed up middle-class American jobs and sent them overseas. It would have piled a heavier burden onto the most vulnerable families. Lower-income Americans are hit the hardest when energy costs take off. And this plan was projected to yield double-digit percentage increases in electricity costs in 40 states, including Kentucky. Unfair. Ineffective. Unaffordable. More than likely illegal. That’s quite the pedigree.
“That’s why I fought the Obama Administration’s entire war on coal, which was centered around this regulation, tooth and nail. I submitted an amicus brief to the courts, when this plan was challenged for exceeding the scope and intent of the Clean Air Act. I championed legislation to cancel it entirely. On two occasions, I wrote to every Governor in the nation and asked they not be complicit in implementing this outrageous overreach until the courts ruled on its legality.
“My colleagues and I have been at this for some time. That’s why the president’s actions today are so encouraging. Today’s proposed rule is the first step in the process. I look forward to engaging in this process as it moves forward toward a better outcome for Kentucky and the entire country.”
Last week's announcement from the Trump administration, on the EPA’s new Affordable Clean Energy Plan to replace the Clean Power Plan, is another welcome addition to President Trump’s list of promises fulfilled that benefit American workers.
The American economy has long languished under burdensome, radical regulations imposed by the Obama administration. This revised plan will help change that, focusing on free market principles that will help achieve American energy dominance while still protecting our environment.
Like so many other radical regulations from the Obama administration, the Clean Power Plan rule was an illegal Washington power grab that would have killed jobs and imposed higher costs on American families and small businesses. This rule, if implemented, would have cost as much as $292 billion and caused electricity prices to increase between 10 and 30 percent in 40 states, according to an analysis by NERA. In Louisiana alone, nearly one million families would have been negatively affected by this radical regulation.
Further, Trump’s revised rule will allow each state to have greater input, so that the plan considers each state’s environmental needs and available energy sources. Local leaders on the ground, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington, have a greater knowledge of what are practical emission reduction goals when considering the energy resources that are available. The top-down, one-size-fits-all approach of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan would have only killed jobs and raised energy prices, hurting hardworking families.
America has a wealth of resources, including coal, oil, natural gas, hydropower, and more. We should be utilizing every resource to reduce our reliance on energy from hostile countries, while also helping our friends around the world. Energy dominance means increased national security at home and abroad, while at the same time increasing prosperity and economic opportunity. The pursuit of all our energy sources leads to lower energy costs, new jobs, and more opportunity for all Americans.
During his administration, former President Barack Obama declared a war on coal and worked to strangle American energy. Today, I’m thankful for the results being delivered by Trump to reverse these misguided rules, especially with his revisions to the Clean Power Plan.
In just the two years working with Trump, we have been able to end the war on American energy to the benefit of hardworking families. Our Republican Congress has worked to roll back hundreds of harmful regulations that have stifled the economy. Now, the economy is booming, and American energy producers are growing and creating good jobs while providing affordable energy to consumers. I look forward to continuing to work with Trump on achieving American energy dominance, to strengthen our national security, and finally give economic opportunities to millions of people who were left behind.