TRENTON – New Jersey has joined a mulit-state penition challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Affordable Clean Energy Rulwhich relaxes federal greenhouse gas emission standards and other important regulatory controls for existing coal-fired power plants, announced Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

New Jersey has joined litigation withNew York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.  The petition, which was filed Tuesday, challenges the ACE rule as unlawful and asserts that it must be vacated, said the Attorney General's Office in a press release. 

The ACE Rule would enable existing coal-fired power plants to operate indefinitely into the future without requiring them to implement key technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), they stated.

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“Just like its name says, the Environmental Protection Agency has a clear job: to protect our environment,” said Attorney General Grewal. “But EPA’s latest rule does nothing of the kind. At a time when experts call on us to combat the threat of climate change, Washington refuses to hold the biggest polluters accountable. Not only is that bad policy, but it’s wrong on the law. EPA is required to make sure power plants are using the best technology to reduce their emissions. This rule instead gives power plants and the coal industry a blank check to keep on putting our environment and health at risk. That’s why I’m proud to join AGs from across the country in fighting to stop it.”

In 2015, the Obama Administration adopted the Clean Power Plan, which placed new and stringent limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  In 2018, EPA announced that it would replace the Clean Power Plan with the ACE Rule, which cut back on the prior limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“When the federal government tries to drag us backward, New Jersey and other states must step forward,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “We are pleased to join other states in voicing our opposition to the ACE rule, defending the progress that we have made as a state and keeping us on a path toward the Governor’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”

“To the detriment of all, the EPA has implemented a new rule that ignores the impact of climate change and the goal of providing a cleaner and healthier environment – and I support the effort to reverse this decision,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). “New Jersey has taken dramatic steps to address climate change and to achieve Governor Murphy’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Just a few weeks ago the Board granted the largest offshore wind solicitation in the nation and we have recently released a draft Energy Master Plan that will provide a roadmap to achieving 100% clean energy by 2050. Those who dismiss climate change as an ongoing issue are ignoring the grim reality we all face.”

On June 19, 2019, EPA finalized the ACE rule, reversing the agency’s prior approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.