The D.C. Circuit Overturns EPA’s 2019 Affordable Clean Energy Rule

March 2021

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 1, Number 6

On January 19, 2021, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 185-page opinion vacating the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2019 Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule), reasoning that it rested on an erroneous reading of the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act). See American Lung Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, ___ F.3d ___, No. 19-1140, 2021 WL 162579 (D.C. Cir. 2021). The ACE Rule replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, and would have regulated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  The D.C. Circuit held that the EPA’s narrow statutory interpretation of 42 U.S.C. § 7411 (Section 111) of the CAA to apply only to measures that can be applied “at and to a stationary source” misinterpreted the Act.

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