UPDATE (10/15/19): On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office said that the Senate Democrats could force a vote to strike down Trump’s “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) regulation, which strips the Obama-era Clean Power Plan of its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows the Senate to overturn recently passed regulations such as this as long as 30 Senators demand a vote. Senators need to hear from their constituents that they should demand this vote ASAP to ensure adequate climate protections stay in place.
In 2015, President Obama released a rule called the Clean Power Plan, which requires states to cut greenhouse gas pollution to slow the pace of climate change. On August 21st, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule, the misleadingly named Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) proposal, to reverse Clean Power Plan requirements and allow states to set their greenhouse gas emission goals. The ACE rule would also restrict states’ ability to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Obama’s Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce 2005 US greenhouse gas emission levels by 32% in 2030. By contrast, the ACE would reduce emissions by a pathetic 0.7-1.5% in the same time frame, accelerating dangerous climate change. The EPA itself concluded that the proposed rule would increase air pollution and cause about 1,400 premature deaths and 48,000 new cases of asthma annually. Proposed EPA air regulations are legally required to be as beneficial as or better than existing regulations; however, the EPA is skirting this requirement by changing how it calculates the economic and health value of reducing pollution and prioritizing industry profits over population health.