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Environment and Outdoors

Maine Joins Lawsuit Over Trump Rule To Roll Back Clean Air Protections

J. David Ake
Associated Press/file
In this July 27, 2018, file photo, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo.

Maine’s attorney general has joined more than two dozen states and local governments in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its plan to roll back clean air protections. The states are arguing that a new federal rule disregards requirements under the Clean Air Act and puts public health and the environment at risk.

At issue is the Trump administration’s so-called ACE rule, which replaced the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on emissions from fossil-fueled power plants.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey says the new rule will have virtually no effect on power plant emissions, which are one of the largest sources of climate change pollution. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s own analysis, it will result in increased emissions of several pollutants, including carbon dioxide.

“Rolling back rules to limit this type of pollution,” Frey said in a statement, “violates the federal Clean Air Act, and will result in negative consequences for Mainer’s health, economic well-being, and way of life.”

Under the Clean Air Act, limits on air pollutants must be based on the “best system of emissions reduction,” which the plaintiffs say is not the basis for the ACE rule.

In addition, the rule prohibits states from participating in cap-and-trade programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that Maine and nine other states have used to cut power plant emissions by more than 50 percent.

Originally published 7:04 p.m. Aug. 13, 2019