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Deregulation on Demand: Trump EPA Panders to Polluters in Dismantling Clean Power Plan

James Goodwin | April 9, 2020

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Introduction

Corporate capture of regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has progressed to a dizzying degree of brazenness during the Donald Trump administration, helping to power the president’s dangerous assault on public safeguards. This paper seeks to document this phenomenon empirically by examining the extent of the influence that corporate polluters enjoyed over the Trump EPA’s development of its Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

Specifically, our research compares the public comments that a sample of relevant national trade associations submitted regarding how greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants should be regulated to the provisions contained in the final ACE rule, seeking to answer a fundamental question: Just how much of industry’s wish list did the Trump administration deliver? Researchers identified a total of 23 unique substantive requests, or “asks,” in the trade associations’ public comments and concluded that the Trump EPA incorporated 79 percent of them into its final ACE rule. This high percentage is evidence of how unduly attentive the Trump EPA is to the very industries it is supposed to be regulating, while ignoring the legitimate interests of the public it is supposed to be protecting. When agencies become overly influenced by the industries they regulate, they risk undermining their credibility and the legitimacy of the policies they create. Structural reforms at the EPA, including measures aimed at limiting conflicts of interest among agency leadership, should be adopted to address the root causes of the problem of corporate capture.

The Trump Doctrine of Corporate Corruption

Under President Donald Trump, the threat to the integrity and legitimacy of our democratic institutions has never been greater. His frequent verbal assaults on the judiciary and his nose-thumbing at congressional oversight have been widely reported and condemned, but his administration’s efforts to undercut the regulatory system and the web of safeguards it supports and enforces may well have a greater impact on Americans’ daily lives. We focus in this paper on just one of the constellation of public interest agencies charged with translating protective statutes into concrete and enforceable standards – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and on just one regulatory initiative – the Trump EPA’s repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and promulgation of its own, far less protective Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. In a subsequent report, we will examine industry influence over a broader range of Trump anti-safeguard initiatives, including measures that would undermine critical protections designed to keep our air safe to breathe, our drinking water free of contaminants, and our communities free of toxic chemicals.

While the Trump administration did not invent the problem of capture by regulated industries, the influence that corporate special interests have come to enjoy over federal agencies during Trump’s tenure is unprecedented in U.S. history.

While the Trump administration did not invent the problem of capture by regulated industries, the influence that corporate special interests have come to enjoy over federal agencies during Trump’s tenure is unprecedented in U.S. history. An overwhelming number of lobbyists and executives now hold leadership positions in the very agencies charged with supervising their former industries, supposedly on behalf of the public interest.[1] One of Trump’s first official acts was to issue a pair of executive orders that effectively made it his administration’s official regulatory policy for the protector agencies to ask “how high?” when the industries they oversee told them to jump. One order required agencies to devote their resources to carrying out an aggressive assault on existing safeguards, regardless of the harms to public health, safety, and the environment that would result, while the other put corporate interests at the helm of this assault by explicitly inviting them to send Trump’s agencies “hit lists” of existing safeguards they wanted to see repealed or weakened.[2]

Unsurprisingly, the Trump EPA has been particularly aggressive in rolling back safeguards opposed by corporate polluters, including rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and automobiles, protect fragile wetlands and upland water sources, and ensure safe storage of toxic coal ash waste.[3] The Trump rollbacks would add to the already healthy bottom lines of these large corporations, by allowing them to avoid the cost of cleaning up their own mess. Instead, they would transfer those costs to working families – costs that would ultimately be measured in preventable deaths, increased cancer rates, lost school days, and degradation of our cherished environmental heritage. Such costs, of course, would be disproportionately borne by those who can least afford them, including the poor and people of color. While it would be impossible to capture the full scope of these harms with numbers, one study from a pair of Harvard researchers was able to generate a “conservative estimate” of 80,000 premature deaths per decade and respiratory problems for more than 1 million people.[4]

A Climate Policy Only Fossil Fuel Interests Could Love

There have been previous examinations of the extent of corporate regulatory capture that has taken place during the Trump administration. For example, a 2019 study from Public Citizen found that the Trump administration had acted on 85 percent of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) requests to initiate discrete deregulatory actions over the course of its first two years in office.[5] Results from these studies show the extent to which corporate interests are driving the agenda of the Trump assault on our safeguards.

The purpose of this study is to dig a little deeper into the phenomenon of industry capture in the Trump administration and examine the extent to which corporate interests influenced the actual substance of these deregulatory efforts, in this case the Clean Power Plan rollback. In other words, whereas past studies, such as the Public Citizen report, have looked at the degree to which industry is dictating the agenda for the Trump administration’s rollbacks, this study examines the more complicated question of whether and to what extent these corporate interests are influencing the content of the provisions contained in the administration’s weaker replacement rule for the Clean Power Plan.

The Trump Attack on the Obama Clean Power Plan

The EPA’s 2019 Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule addressed, albeit superficially, greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants using the authority granted to the EPA by Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. Through this rulemaking, the Trump administration repealed the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan and replaced it with a significantly weaker emissions reduction program.

The difference between the two rules primarily turned on each administration’s divergent interpretation of what constituted a “best system of emissions reduction” (BSER), as that term is used under Section 111(d). Interpreting BSER broadly, the Obama administration program would have required states to adopt their own implementation plans aimed at meeting specified emissions reductions goals that were tailored to their unique circumstances. The final Clean Power Plan laid out three “building blocks” that states could employ in designing their implementation plans: (1) reducing the carbon intensity of individual power plants’ generation through heat rate improvements; (2) reducing emissions from the most carbon-intensive power plants by substituting generation with that from less carbon-intensive power plants; and (3) reducing emissions by substituting carbon-intensive generation with low-carbon or zero-carbon generation. The practical effect of this design is that it would have enabled states considerable flexibility to achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector located within their borders at a reasonable cost.

In contrast, the Trump administration’s ACE rule relies on an interpretation of BSER that is so narrow that it effectively deprives the term of practical meaning. The ACE rule only recognizes modest source-specific heat rate improvements as permissible. And because the rule grants states considerable flexibility in implementing this standard, it could conceivably – and paradoxically – lead to actual increases in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fueled power plants as compared to no rule at all.[6]

When first proposed in 2014, the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan was met with fierce opposition from industry. A wide variety of business groups – especially those industries related to fossil fuel development and use – submitted comments on the 2014 proposal that criticized its legal basis and suggested alternative designs. The Obama EPA considered and rejected many of these criticisms in working toward a final rule. An unprecedented stay from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 prevented the rule from taking effect while legal challenges against it worked their way through the federal courts. As a result, a legal challenge to the still-unimplemented Clean Power Plan remained pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit when the Trump administration took office in early 2017. President Trump, who had made opposition to environmental and other regulations a major theme of his campaign, wasted little time securing from the D.C. Circuit an abeyance in the litigation while his EPA worked on a replacement that would become the ACE rule.

The Trump EPA formally began work on the ACE rule with a 2017 advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), which broadly sought public feedback on whether and how it should regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. Again, a wide variety of business groups responded to this request, offering their ideas for what a weaker replacement rule should look like (as opposed to an outright repeal).

The Affordable Clean Energy Rule: Just What Corporate Polluters Ordered?

The two public comment periods – for the 2014 Obama proposal and the 2017 Trump ANPRM, respectively – provide a unique opportunity to empirically test the extent of corporate capture that has prevailed during the Trump administration. In response to both comment opportunities, industry groups offered detailed feedback on what the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fueled power plants should look like. Our researchers, a group of student attorneys from the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, drew on a representative sample of these industry comments in order to document the frequency with which the discrete requests, or “asks,” they contained were eventually reflected in the final ACE rule. A higher percentage of such asks being adopted is suggestive of a Trump EPA that has been captured by corporate interests.

Rather than conduct a comprehensive review of all industry comments, which would have been an overwhelming task, we focused instead on the comments from seven leading national industry trade associations: American Coal Council (ACC); American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE); American Petroleum Institute (API); National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); National Mining Association (NMA); U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG). We focused on national trade associations to ensure our analysis focused on more generalized feedback on the rule, rather than on the more parochial concerns that the associations’ individual members might raise in their own comments. In addition, this choice also reflects the reality that national trade associations have increasingly overtaken individual companies as the major players from the business community in the rulemaking process. We chose these particular seven trade associations because they had been among the most publicly active in their advocacy against the Clean Power Plan and in favor of the ACE rule, through such means as op-eds and congressional testimony.

We found that the seven trade associations made a total of 23 unique substantive asks. The final ACE rule adopted 79 percent of these asks.

We carefully reviewed each of the trade association’s comments on the 2014 Obama proposal and the 2017 Trump ANPRM, where available. (Not all seven of the trade associations covered in this study participated in both public comment opportunities. For example, the ACC submitted comments on the 2014 Obama proposal, but did not submit comments on the 2017 Trump ANPRM.) As part of this review, we identified all of the substantive requests, or “asks,” that were made, which we distinguished from more general technical comments. We then reviewed the final ACE rule to determine whether each particular ask was formally adopted, partially adopted, rejected, or completely unaddressed by the Trump EPA. Based on this analysis, we were able to determine the total percentage of industry asks that were fully adopted in the final ACE rule, providing us with a yardstick for measuring the extent of industry influence over the Trump’s regulatory decision-making.

To ensure the robustness of our results, we took a conservative approach to our analysis. First, we did not count toward the final percentage any asks that were only partially adopted in the final rule. Second, to avoid misleading duplication, we only counted an ask that was adopted once, even if the particular ask had been made more than once – either by the same trade association (i.e., in their separate comments on the 2014 Obama proposal and the 2017 Trump ANPRM) or by more than one trade association.

Based on this analysis, we found that the seven trade associations made a total of 23 unique substantive asks. The final ACE rule adopted 79 percent of these asks.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong in the abstract with the EPA and other agencies basing their decision-making on the public feedback they receive. After all, the purpose of the comment process is to provide interested stakeholders with a meaningful opportunity to shape agency decision-making. It is this avenue of meaningful public participation in policymaking that helps to imbue the process and its results with a critical element of democratic accountability and legitimacy.

The problem is one of degree, however. If an agency is only attentive to one set of stakeholders – in this case corporate polluters – while systematically disregarding the concerns of the broader public interest, then this poses a threat to the accountability and legitimacy of the regulatory system, as well. For example, in their comments on the proposed ACE rule, various environmental groups urged the Trump EPA to adopt a broader definition of BSER, noting that according to the agency’s own analysis, the narrow definition employed in the ACE rule would achieve little practical reduction in existing power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions. They contended that this narrow construction of BSER was inconsistent with the Clean Air Act, which among other things requires the EPA to consider such factors as the quantity of emissions reductions and the severity of the pollution problem at issue when applying the BSER standard.[7] This was one of the many solid critiques of the ACE rule that the Trump EPA disregarded in working toward a final rule, and a reviewing court could very well use them as the basis for striking the rule down.

No law – least of all the Clean Air Act – charges the government with doing the bidding of politically powerful interests. Instead, the EPA, like all agencies, must be accountable to and fairly balance the interests of all affected stakeholders according to the dictates of the laws they implement. If the EPA creates the appearance, if not the reality, that it will only seriously consider the concerns of the corporate polluters it is charged with regulating, and not those of the broader public, this can prove just as corrosive to its credibility and the legitimacy of the policies its adopts.

In the Trump EPA, Corporate Polluters Have Found a Receptive Audience

The fact that the Trump EPA was so attentive to the concerns of corporate polluters in developing its final ACE rule should not be surprising. Even within the Trump administration, where conflicts and corruption are in evidence seemingly everywhere, the EPA has always distinguished itself as one of the most thoroughly captured by the very industries that Congress has charged it with overseeing. According to White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) records, the EPA has been one of the most aggressive agencies in advancing the administration’s assault on public safeguards, accounting for 44 of the administration’s estimated 393 deregulatory actions (11 percent) since 2017.[8] Of course, such “savings” are actually costs transferred, often in the form of sickness and death, to individuals and families, so that corporate polluters can make more money.

Read CPR’s one-pager on how industry shaped the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.
Individuals with close ties to the fossil fuel industry are well represented throughout the Trump EPA’s upper echelons. Trump’s first EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, had previously served as the attorney general in Oklahoma. Pruitt gained infamy for using his official position to advance the interests of the oil and gas industry and himself. Campaign finance disclosure records reveal that the oil and gas industry was one of Pruitt’s most generous contributors.[9] After a litany of scandals forced Pruitt to resign, he was replaced by current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who brought with him a long, close relationship with the coal industry. As a former corporate lobbyist, one of his biggest clients was Murray Energy.[10] Wheeler’s former client there was the company’s founder and former CEO, Bob Murray, who had gained notoriety as one of the most outspoken critics of environmental regulations in the United States.

Other notable EPA officials with close ties to the fossil fuel industry include former Assistant Administrator for the Air and Radiation Office William Wehrum (a former lobbyist for UARG)[11], former Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson (who left the agency to take over as Senior Vice President of Government and Political Affairs at NMA)[12], and former air policy advisor and current Chief of Staff Mandy Gunasekara (who worked for a climate change-denying think tank that received significant funding from fossil fuel interests)[13].

Rooting Out Corporate Capture to Prevent Future Trump EPAs

Now that it has been finalized, the ACE rule faces an array of legal challenges from states and environmental groups in federal courts. Its odds of survival there appear dim, given the rule’s myriad legal and policy shortcomings. One of the ACE rule’s biggest weaknesses, as this paper indicates, is that the Trump EPA was overly attentive to the concerns of fossil fuel interests in designing the rule’s provisions, making it ripe for rejection as “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Even if the ACE rule is successfully halted in the courts, its development has exposed the deeper problems of corporate capture that exist at the Trump EPA. While a future, more enlightened administration may sweep out some of the more superficial aspects of this problem, structural reforms will be needed to eliminate their root causes. An important place to start would be to adopt strong conflict-of-interest safeguards to prevent future administrations from installing individuals with close financial ties to polluting industries into influential leadership positions.


The following charts summarize the relevant portions of the comments that were submitted by the industry trade groups that we studied for this report and identify whether and how these specific policy requests were incorporated into the Trump EPA's final ACE rule.


 

Clean Air Act Clean Power Plan Proposal

Proposed August 2018; Finalized July 2019
Current Status: Issued

Original Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602, EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0545

Final Rule Docket ID:  EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355

Rule Overview

In 2013, the Obama administration proposed emissions guidelines for states to follow in developing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulations. This rule became known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  Under Section 111(d) of the CAA, the rule would establish state-specific CO2 emissions goals and guidelines for the development and implementation of state based plans based on what the EPA defined to be the best system of emissions reduction (BSER). EPA determined BSER based on two main considerations: (1) Reducing the emissions by improving the efficiency of operations, and (2) addressing mass emissions by varying their utilization levels (i.e. energy generation/consumption. 

Initially, EPA proposed four BSER "building blocks": (1) reducing the carbon intensity of generation  through heat rate improvements; (2) reducing emissions from the most carbon-intensive power plants by substituting generation with that  from less carbon-intensive power plants; (3) reducing emissions by substituting carbon-intensive generation with low-carbon or zero-carbon generation; and (4) reducing emissions from by expanding the use of demand-side energy efficiency that reduces the amount of generation required.  In the final rule, published in October 2015, EPA retained the first three building blocks for its BSER determination. 

In 2017, the Trump administration proposed to repeal and replace the CPP on the basis that the Obama-era rule exceeded EPA’s legal authority. The replacement became known as the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, and it sought to establish guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit power plant GHGs. The replacement proposal  departed from the CPP in four major respects: (1)  BSER is only based on on site, heat-rate efficiency improvement; (2)  ACE provides states with a list of “candidate technologies” that can be used to establish standards of performance and be incorporated into their state plans; (3) ACE proposed reforms to the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program to further encourage efficiency improvements at existing power plants ; and (4) ACE aligns regulations under CAA section 111(d) to give states adequate time and flexibility to develop their state plans. The final ACE rule abandoned the NSR reforms in favor of pursuing them in a separate rulemaking.

 
What Industry Requested
 
What Industry Got
Coal Industry Groups (American Coal Council and member groups)

Improper federal power grab. 


Yes, the ACE rules gives states greater control over their reduction plans.


Above requested by Coal Industry Groups, NMA, ACCCE

The CPP was an improper attempt by EPA to set energy policy.


Yes, the CPP was repealed.   


Unduly penalizes the coal industry.


Yes, the ACE rule is designed specifically to preserve the coal industry.


American Petroleum Institute

Improperly dictates fuel choices for power plants.

Yes, the ACE rule does not require fuel shifting.


BSER should be limited to source-based approaches.


Yes, EPA is requiring states to choose a source-based BSER.


Above requested by API and ACCE

Problems with counting cogeneration as a reduction approach.


Yes, EPA eliminated cogeneration and fuel switching BSER building blocks.


Above requested by API and NMA
Utility Air Regulatory Group

Problems with the implementation schedule.


Yes, EPA revised the implementation provisions by extending to allow for a three-year compliance period.


National Mining Association

Improper federal power grab.


Yes, the ACE rules gives states greater control over their reduction plans.


Above requested by Coal Industry Groups, NMA, ACCCE

EPA lacks CAA authority to determine substantive requirements.


Yes, the ACE rule is focused on process.

  

The CPP is preempted.


Partially, since EPA withdrew the CPP but still allowed for some regulation.


The CPP seeks to regulate the electric grid in excess of EPA authority.


Yes, ACE eliminated grid modernization/demand side response as a BSER option.

  

Improper reliance on forced reductions.


Yes, ACE eliminated the production reduction and mass-exchange requirements.


Improper reliance on technologies that are not adequately demonstrated.


Yes, EPA eliminated cogeneration and fuel switching BSER building blocks.


Above requested by API and NMA

The CPP building blocks do not provide states with adequate flexibility as claimed.


Yes, ACE abandons the building block framework used in the CPP.


American Council for Clean Coal Energy

The CPP is preempted.


Partially, since EPA withdrew the CPP but still allowed for some regulation.  

BSER should be limited to source-based approaches.


Yes, EPA is requiring states to choose a source-based BSER.

  

Above requested by API and ACCE

Improper federal power grab.


Yes, the ACE rules gives states greater control over their reduction plans.

Above requested by Coal Industry Groups, NMA, ACCCE
TOTALS
15

 Suggestion Adopted

0

 Suggestion Rejected

2

 Suggestion Partially Addressed

0
N/A

 Suggestion Was Not Addressed



 

 

Clean Air Act Affordable Clean Energy Rule Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Proposed August 2018; Finalized July 2019
Current Status: Issued

Original Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602, EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0545

Final Rule Docket ID:  EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355

What Industry Requested
 
What Industry Got
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Chemistry Council, and Others

Best System of Emissions Reductions (BSER) should be limited to source-based approaches.
 

Yes, EPA is requiring states to choose a source-based BSER.  

Above requested by Chamber/ACC, API, NAM, ACCCE
Improper reliance on technologies that are not "adequately demonstrated."

Yes, EPA eliminated cogeneration and fuel switching BSER building blocks.  

State-determined factors for setting emissions standards.

Partially, ACE rule promotes state flexiblity but doesn't set presumptive standards.  

Insufficient implementation flexiblity for states.

Yes, EPA eliminated cogeneration and fuel switching BSER building blocks.

Above requested by Chamber/ACC, NAM
NSR reforms will provide needed flexibility.

N/A Yes, ACE rule allows states to design plans that afford designated facilities broad discretion in meeting its standard of performance.

American Petroleum Institute
BSER should be limited to source-based approaches.

Yes, EPA is requiring states to choose a source-based BSER.

Above requested by Chamber/ACC, API, NAM, ACCCE
State-led program.

Yes, the ACE rules gives states greater control over their reduction plans.

Above requested by API, UARG, NAM, ACCE
Exclusions for industrial combined heat and power generating units and natural gas-fired peaking units.

Yes, ACE rules excludes combine heat and power and gas-fired peaking units.

Promote natural gas.

N/A Unaddressed  

NSR reform will provide flexiblity.

N/A Unaddressed, NSR reforms will be addressed in a separate rule.  

Exclusions for modified EGUs.

Yes, ACE rule clearly only applies to existing EGUs.  

Exclusions for CCS retrofits.

N/A Unaddressed  

Utility Air Regulatory Group
Respect for state authority.

Yes, the ACE rules gives states greater control over their reduction plans.  

Above requested by API, UARG, NAM, ACCE
Defining the HRI BSER.

Yes, the ACE rule sets HRI as sole BSER.  

Above requested by UARG, NAM, NMA
Problems with the implementation schedule

Yes, EPA allowed for compliance schedules longer than twelve months.   

Flexible application of BSER in standard-setting

Yes, the ACE rule clarifies how states properly apply BSER to sources   

Incorporating historical emissions rates in HRI determinations.

Yes, EPA stated that state standards are to be based on individual sources' 'historical emission rates.'  

HRI determination must be context specific.

Yes, the ACE rule provides states a large degree of flexibility to implement standards specific to individual EGUs.  

Gross-based emissions limits.

Partially, EPA grants states discretion to choose basis for emissions limitations.  

Implementation flexibility through averaging.

No, ACE prohibits averaging among units at a single plant or among different plants as a way to establish standards.  

NSR reform in a separate rulemaking.

Yes, EPA commits to NSR reform through a separate rulemaking.   

Above requested by UARG and NMA
National Association of Manufacturers
State-led program.

Yes, the ACE rules gives states greater control over their reduction plans.  

Above requested by API, UARG, NAM, ACCE
Update implementing regulations.

Yes, EPA established new implementing regulations under section 111(d).  

Separate endangerment finding.

N/A Not addressed.   

Flexibility through voluntary reductions at non-EGUs.

N/A Not addressed.  

BSER should be limited to source-based approaches.

Yes, EPA is requiring states to choose a source-based BSER.   

Above requested by Chamber/ACC, API, NAM, ACCCE
Defining the HRI BSER.

Yes, EPA adopted HRI as BSER for emissions reductions and allowed the standard to be satisfied through operational improvements or equipment upgrades.  

Above requested by UARG, NAM, NMA
Flexible application of BSER in standard-setting.

Yes, the ACE rule accounts for the variability of operating conditions and provided a range of options states could consider in setting their standards.  

National Mining Association
Use one action for repeal and replace.

Yes, the EPA incorporated repeal of the CPP in its final ACE rule.  

Limited content of ACE rule.

Yes, the EPAs replacement rule only establishes BSER, provides standard-setting guidelines for states, and addresses state implementation guidelines.   

Criteria for evaluating state plans.

Partially, the replacement rule contains a provision setting forth criteria for evaluating state plans.   

Defining the HRI BSER.

Yes, EPA adopted HRI as BSER for emissions reductions and allowed the standard to be satisfied through operational improvements or equipment upgrades.   

Above requested by UARG, NAM, NMA
Bar on CCS as BSER.

Yes, the ACE rule explicitly bars CSS as a BSER.   

Improper technologies for source-based BSER.

Yes, EPA only considered HRI to be within BSER.   

Accounting for NSR in program implementation.

Yes, the ACE rule allows states to take account of NSR costs.  

Above requested by NMA and ACCCE
NSR reform in a separate rulemaking.

Yes, EPA commits to NSR reform through a separate rulemaking.   

Above requested by UARG, NAM, NMA
Maintain existing implementing regulations.

No, EPA established new section 111(d) implementing regulations in the ACE.   

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
Repeal the CPP.

Yes, the ACE rule repealed the CPP.   

Promoting grid reliability.

Yes, the ACE rule rejected requirements that could weaken grid reliability by forcing fuel-switching.   

BSER should be limited to source-based approaches.

Yes, EPA is requiring states to choose a source-based BSER.   

Above requested by Chamber/ACC, API, NAM, ACCCE
Accounting for NSR in program implementation.

Yes, the ACE rule allows states to take account of NSR costs.   

Above requested by NMA and ACCCE
State-led program.

Yes, the ACE rules gives states greater control over their reduction plans.

Above requested by API, UARG, NAM, ACCE
Implementation flexibility through averaging or trading.

No, while states have flexibility in establishing standards of performance, they are unable to use averaging and trading.   

NSR reform will provide flexibility.

N/A Unaddressed, NSR reforms will be addressed in a separate rule.   

Totals
31
 Suggestion Adopted
3
 Suggestion Rejected 
3
 Suggestion Partially Addressed
7
N/A

 Suggestion Was Not Addressed

 

 



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Endnotes

[1] David Mora, We Found a ‘Staggering’ 281 Lobbyists Who’ve Worked in the Trump Administration, ProPublica, Oct. 15, 2019 (last updated), https://www.propublica.org/article/we-found-a-staggering-281-lobbyists-whove-worked-in-the-trump-administration (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

[2] See Exec. Order No. 13771, 82 Fed. Reg. 9339 (Feb. 3, 2017); Exec. Order 13777, 82 Fed. Reg. 12285 (Mar. 1, 2017).

[3] Nadja Popovich, Livia Albeck-Ripka, & Kendra Pierre-Louis, 95 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump, N.Y. Times, Dec. 21, 2019 (last updated), https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/climate/trump-environment-rollbacks.html (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

[4] David Cutler & Francesca Dominici, A Breath of Bad Air: Cost of the Trump Environmental Agenda May Lead to 80 000 Extra Deaths per Decade, The JAMA Forum, June 12, 2018, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2684596?appid=scweb&appid=scweb&alert=article (last visited Mar. 27, 2020)

[5] Amit Narang & Matt Kent, Your Wish is My Command: Corporate Capture of the Regulatory Process Evident in Trump’s First Two Years (Public Citizen, May 9, 2019), available at https://www.citizen.org/wp-content/uploads/Wishlist_report.pdf.

[6] Tom Yulsman, Study Shows that Trump’s New ‘Affordable Clean Energy’ Rule Will Lead to More CO2 Emissions, Not Fewer, Discover, June 19, 2019, https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/study-shows-that-trumps-new-affordable-clean-energy-rule-will-lead-to-more (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

[7] See, e.g., Nat. Res. Defense Council, NRDC Comments on EPA’s Proposed ‘ACE’ Rule to Replace the CPP, Oct. 31, 2018, https://www.nrdc.org/resources/nrdc-comments-epas-proposed-ace-rule-replace-cpp (last visited Mar. 27, 2020) [follow hyperlink entitled “Joint Comments on Legal Issues (PDF)”].

[8] See White House Off. Info. & Reg. Affairs, Off. Mgmt & Budget, Exec. Off. President, Regulatory Reform Results for Fiscal Year 2019, https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaEO13771 (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

https://www.reginfo.gov/public/pdf/eo13771/EO_13771_Final_Accounting_for_Fiscal_Year_2019.pdf

[9] Christian Detisch & Alison Grass, Scott Pruitt’s Troublesome Ties to the Oil and Gas Industry (Food & Water Watch, Jan. 18, 2017), https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/scott-pruitts-troublesome-ties-oil-and-gas-industry (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

[10] Rebecca Leber, The Next Likely EPA Chief Has Almost Completed His Former Coal Client’s Wish List, Mother Jones, Jan. 16, 2019, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/01/andrew-wheeler-bob-murray-confirmation-hearing/ (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

[11] Lisa Friedman, Bill Wehrum, an Architect of E.P.A. Rollbacks, Faces New Ethics Inquiry, N.Y. Times, July 22, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/22/climate/william-wehrum-epa-inquiry.html (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

[12] Ari Natter & Jennifer A. Dlouhy, U.S. EPA Chief of Staff Is Headed to Top Coal Mining Group, Bloomberg, Jan. 30, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-31/u-s-epa-chief-of-staff-is-headed-to-national-mining-association (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).

[13] Corbin Hiar, Incoming EPA Chief of Staff Draws Fire, Greenwire, Mar. 11, 2020, https://www.eenews.net/stories/1062577165 (last visited Mar. 27, 2020).


 
About the Center for Progressive Reform

Founded in 2002, the nonprofit Center for Progressive Reform connects a nationwide network of scholars with policymakers and allied public interest advocates. CPR pursues a vision of legal and regulatory policies that put health, safety, and environmental protection before private interests and corporate profit. With rigorous analysis, strategic engagement in public interest campaigns, and a commitment to social welfare, CPR supports thoughtful government action, ready public access to the courts, enhanced public participation, and freer access to information.

Acknowledgments

CPR is grateful to the Public Welfare Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, and the Deer Creek Foundation for their generous support of CPR’s work

About the Authors
James Goodwin

James Goodwin is a senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform.

 

Special thanks go to Kyla Kaplan, Michael Sammartino, and Lauren Stettz from the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law for their indispensable assistance in conducting the research and analysis that informed this report.

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