Today, the AIA released a statement voicing the Institute's "strong opposition" to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule). Announced on Aug. 21, this rule would set new guidelines for states developing standards for greenhouse gas emissions related to their remaining coal-fired power plants. If enacted, the ACE Rule would empower states to relax pollution standards, according to a Washington Post article.

The EPA will take comments up to 60 days after the initial rule announcement and will hold a public hearing on Oct. 1 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago.

AIA 2018 president Carl Elefante, FAIA, filed the following statement to EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler on Sept. 6:

The AIA is firmly and unequivocally opposed to the EPA proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule. We believe that, if enacted, the proposed, Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Electric Utility Generating Units, will be detrimental to the health of all Americans and will greatly undermine the fight against global warming.

For 160 years, the AIA has worked to advance the quality of life of all Americans and protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. The AIA’s 90,000 members work every day to advance our nation's built environment through design. From designing the next generation of energy-saving buildings to promoting equitable and livable neighborhoods and making our communities healthier and safer, architects play a central role in influencing and improving public health through their work.

This obligation to safeguard public health is most apparent in our efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by building energy use. This administration’s proposal to roll back the Clean Power Plan is moving the United States in the opposite direction of the protection afforded under the plan. It will directly impede the ability of our members to meet their professional obligations.

The AIA also challenges the EPA’s assertion that this proposed rule would create "more jobs’" A 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that clean energy jobs far surpass those in the fossil fuel industry. In sum, the study states that, "nearly 1 million Americans are working near- or full-time in the energy efficiency, solar, wind and alternative vehicles sector. This is almost five times the current employment in the fossil fuel electric industry, which includes coal, gas and oil workers."

The EPA proposed rule is a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to overturn the Clean Power Plan. The rulemaking process set forth in the Clean Air Act guarantees that decisions affecting regulated parties and the public health and welfare will be made based upon a careful consideration of law, evidence and comments from the public. The agency’s commitment to full participation from all stakeholders affected by Clean Air Act rules has contributed to the Act’s remarkable success over almost 50 years of saving lives, protecting the nation’s natural resources, and contributing to a robust economy.

Please note AIA’s strong opposition to this proposed rule.