Over 20 US states including California, Massachusetts and New York are set to sue the Trump Administration in order to block its Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

The rule, which was issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 19 June 2019, was intended to replace the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) of 2015, which was eventually blocked by the Supreme Court.

The CPP looked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, a move which the EPA then said would prevent 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 heart attacks and 90,000 asthma attacks each year.

ACE instead allows for states to set their own carbon emissions targets in an effort to honour President Trump’s pledges to support the coal industry and coal-producing states in his election campaign.

It has been condemned by critics for being “worse than doing nothing” because it acts to slow the progress of reducing fossil fuels as part of the US’ energy mix and the EPA has also said it could result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030.

In its petition to the District of Columbia circuit court, the states write that they: “petition this Court to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s final agency action entitled ‘Repeal of the Clean Power Plan; Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Electric Utility Generating Units; Revisions to Emission Guidelines Implementing Regulations.’

“State and Municipal Petitioners seek a determination by the Court pursuant to section 307(d)(9) of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7607(d)(9), that the rule is unlawful and must be vacated.”

EPA spokesperson Michael Abboud told CNN: “In regards to ACE, EPA worked diligently to ensure we produced a solid rule, which we believe will be upheld in the courts, unlike the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan.”

State’s lawsuit reaction

New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted: “We filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s EPA over its Affordable Clean Energy rule.

“The science is indisputable; our climate is changing. Ice caps are melting. Sea levels are rising. Weather is becoming more and more extreme. That’s why we are fighting back.”

West Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey criticised the move, writing: “My colleagues on the other side of the aisle are dead wrong when it comes to their interpretation of the Clean Air Act.  Their lawsuit today will ultimately fail at the Supreme Court.

“West Virginia will oppose 22 state “power grab” lawsuit & advance some of same arguments that helped our 27 state coalition obtain a stay of the Clean Power Plan at the US Supreme Court in 2016.”