Brittany Patterson Published

Comments Due Today for EPA's Replacement Power Plant Rule

Mt. Storm Power Plant

Today is the last day to submit comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the agency’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule.

The so-called ACE rule is the proposed replacement for the Obama administration’s signature climate regulation, the Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by encouraging states to shift electricity generation away from coal and toward natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The rule was never fully implemented and drew sharp criticism from industry groups and more than half the states in the country.

EPA’s proposed replacement, the ACE rule, takes a narrower approach and places the onus on states to decide how to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The proposal has drawn praise from industry supporters and many Republican lawmakers around the Ohio Valley. Environmental and public health advocates say the rule will negatively impact the public’s health while doing little to boost coal, which faces an economic disadvantage against cheaper natural gas and renewable energy.

Energy experts have also cast doubts on the rule’s ability to help the struggling coal industry.

According to EPA’s analysis, as many as 1,400 people each year could die prematurely of heart and lung disease, linked to exposure of fine soot particles released from smokestacks. Cases of asthma and other respiratory diseases could increase by 15,000.

The agency has received nearly 1.5 million comments on the proposed replacement, according to Comments are being accepted until midnight on Oct. 31, 2018, and are accepted online, by email, mail, fax or hand delivery.