City of Asheville marks Earth Week by joining Amicus brief in objection to EPA power plant rule

Climate change and governance illustration


The City of Asheville continues its support of the creation of clean energy by signing an Amicus brief criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule. The rule, we believe, fails  to reduce dangerous air pollution and address climate change, increasing health and safety risks for Americans, including Asheville residents. 


City Council voted in January to participate in the Amicus brief. The City is with good company — 23 cities and counties from 16 states across the country have joined the brief as signatories, representing more than 12 million Americans, to object to the EPA’s new and dangerously weak rule for managing emissions from power plants.


The action that Asheville is taking today is part of a long track  of supporting clean energy in our region. The City of Asheville adopted a resolution supporting a Clean Energy Economy on Oct. 22, 2013; and in 2018 adopted a resolution establishing a 100% Renewable Energy Goal for municipal operations and supporting Buncombe County’s 100% Renewable Energy Community-wide goal.


The ACE rule is the Trump administration’s much weaker replacement for the Clean Power Plan, which was estimated to reduce U.S. power plant emissions by 32 percent by 2030. The Amicus brief calls the ACE rule a dangerously weak substitute for the Clean Power Plan, stating that the rule would do little, if anything, to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The brief carefully outlines the consequences for cities if  EPA fails to take climate change seriously, concluding that the ACE rule will shift the burden from polluters to already poor and vulnerable populations, and onto local governments already under budget strain. 


Asheville has lowered its energy demand and reduced its carbon emissions by 31% since 2008, is already known as Climate City, and is on its way to being a leader in energy conservation. By signing this brief we hope to continue seeing carbon emissions reduced on a larger national scale which will make our communities safer to live. 


             “In a state like North Carolina, where cities like Asheville are willing to go much further than our state legislature on climate action, we need a strong signal from the federal government to help us fill that gap. The Clean Power Plan was a saving grace in that it ensured that our power plants would play a role in helping communities with their carbon reduction goals. The Affordable Clean Energy rule falls completely short of what climate science demands, and where communities like Asheville would like to go.”

Mayor Esther Manheimer, Asheville



Read the full brief.