(SOUNDBITE) (English) EPA ADMINISTRATOR, ANDREW WHEELER, SAYING: “Our ACE rule will incentivize new technologies that will ensure coal plants can be part of a cleaner future.” President Donald Trump's EPA chief unveiled a new carbon emissions rule for power plants on Wednesday, saying the U.S. can still cut pollution without further damaging a coal industry already in decline.
The Affordable Clean Energy rule or ACE replaces former President Barack Obama’s much tougher ‘Clean Power Plan’, which was never enacted because of lawsuits by Republican states.
Reuters correspondent Valerie Volcovici: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, VALERIE VOLCOVICI, SAYING: "Environmentalists and some democratic lawmakers and attorneys generals have called the EPA's replacement of the Clean Power Plan the Dirty Power Plan or the Dirty Power Scam.
They're calling it this because it will effectively let power plants continue to operate with fewer restrictions.
So some of the dirtier plants will be able to stay online for longer.
And they believe emissions will go up in the long run without moving toward cleaner sources of electricity." But EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler says the Republican plan encourages cleaner energy: (SOUNDBITE) (English) EPA ADMINISTRATOR, ANDREW WHEELER, SAYING: “We are working cooperatively with the states to provide an affordable, dependable and diverse supply of energy that continues to get cleaner and more efficient.” The ACE rule gives states three years to craft their own plans to cut emissions by using ‘candidate technologies’ including duct leakage control and boiler feed pumps.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, VALERIE VOLCOVICI, SAYING: ”They believe they're staying in the confines of the Clean Air Act and are requiring improvements to happen at the power plant.
They believe the Obama administration stepped too far in more loosely interpreting how states and utilities can achieve emissions reductions.
They feel this is a much more straight forward interpretation of federal law and they feel it will hold up in court.” A summary of the rule estimated a cut in carbon emissions of 35% — from its 2005 levels — by 2030.
But critics say the regulation is too weak to significantly reduce emissions.