The state of Indiana and 19 other states filed a motion supporting a Trump administration energy rule that’s expected to increase air pollution and premature deaths.
Indiana attorney general Curtis Hill filed the motion to intervene Sep.12. The motion would allow the state of Indiana and the 19 states to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defend the Affordable Clean Energy Rule in a lawsuit filed by the American Lung Association and the American Public Health Association.
“We must keep energy clean and affordable while at the same time respecting each state’s individual authority to represent their own interests,” said Hill. “We are capable of protecting both the environment and state sovereignty.”
Hill’s statement is directly at odds with President Donald Trump’s announcement Sept. 18 that he is revoking California’s power to determine its own vehicle emissions standards, which are more stringent than those set by the federal government.
According to the EPA, the rule’s aim is to improve the efficiency of coal-fired power plants and set guidelines for states to regulate emissions and plant efficiency. The rule also repealed the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which sought to guide the nation to focus on clean energy.
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General called the Clean Power Plan a “one-size-fits-all model that threatened to devastate coal communities across the nation,” and calls the Trump plan a “step forward in embracing Congress’ intent for cooperation between the state and federal governments.”
The attorney general’s office also said the ACE Rule would allow states to consider factors that affect specific facilities within their borders, including costs, practical achievability and the life of any particular power plant.
Critics argued that the way the rule delegates authority could allow a state to require utilities to do nothing to improve air quality.
The EPA’s own estimates show the additional pollution allowed by the ACE Rule could result in about 1,400 more premature deaths and tens of thousands more instances of cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses every year by 2030.
A coalition of 29 states and cities have also filed a lawsuit to stop the repeal of the Clean Power Plan and to stop the ACE Rule from taking effect.