George Mason University attends EPA Affordable Clean Energy signing

By Adam Houser

On Wednesday, June 19, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the Affordable Clean Energy plan, also known as “ACE.” ACE is the replacement to Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

CFACT’s George Mason student leader David Bucarey poses with Congressman Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania.

Along with several members of Congress and dozens of energy workers, CFACT’s student leader at George Mason University, David Bucarey, was there at EPA headquarters to learn and get engaged in the public policy arena.

“I really loved the opportunity to come in to DC and see this great reform be enacted,” said David, a sophomore at George Mason, which is located in northern Virginia. “I sat next to and spoke to some of the coal miners who were affected, and I really appreciate what they do in providing energy for our country. Thank you to CFACT for helping me to get more involved.”

President Trump had signed an order in 2017 directing the EPA to remove the Clean Power Plan. This ceremony was the fulfillment of that directive by EPA officials.

Steven Lopez, a coal miner in Pennsylvania, discusses with David how the Clean Power Plan, and now the ACE rule, impact his livelihood.

The new ACE rule is designed to give states more power over deciding how to regulate energy, meaning those states dependent on coal or gas can keep those much-needed energy producing jobs available.

“The Affordable Clean Energy rule — ACE — gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide affordable and reliable energy for all Americans,” Administrator Wheeler stated.

“The contrast between our approach and the Green New Deal, or plans like it, couldn’t be clearer. Rather than Washington telling Americans what type of energy they can use, or how they can travel, or even what they can eat, we are working cooperatively with the states to provide affordable, dependable, and diverse supply of energy that continues to get cleaner and more efficient.”

David also got to meet and talk with Congressman Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district, which relies heavily on coal.

White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney addresses the crowd at the EPA ceremony.

“I’ve never met a congressman before,” David said. “That was pretty cool.”

At one point during the proceedings, the speakers recognized all the coal miners in attendance, who were mostly from Pennsylvania, and gave them a standing ovation.

Despite the optimism from inside the meeting, Democratic Attorneys General plan to sue the EPA over this new rule. These include New York and Connecticut, but more states are sure to join in.

“This is yet another prime example of this administration’s attempt to rollback critical regulations that will have devastating impacts on both the safety & health of our nation,” said New York’s Attorney General Letitia James in a tweet.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs the ACE rule at the culmination of his speech.

Gina McCarthy, Obama’s former EPA Administrator who put the Clean Power Plan in place several years ago, said “I do not dispute any administration coming in with different policies, but the challenge I think we’re facing is they are really changing the rules of the road and not using sound science.” 

But since President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, US CO₂ emissions have been dropping, while European CO₂ emissions have been on the rise, despite Europe being the poster child for “green” energy policies.

Our George Mason student leader, David Bucarey, and I pose for a photo in the EPA “green room.”

In fact, according to the Statistical Review of World Energy by BP, the United States led the world in CO₂ emissions reduction in 2017, while the European Union’s emissions were actually up by 1.5%.

CFACT has long advocated for the repeal and replacement of the Clean Power Plan at both the federal and grassroots levels.

Passionate CFACT student leaders like David will continue to do the hard work of rallying support for much-needed free market reforms like this one on college campuses around the country. George Mason University in particular, with its close proximity to Washington DC, is a perfect place to grow this already impactful network of Collegians activists.

Stay tuned for great things from David at George Mason, and all our incredible Collegians from coast to coast, come the next school semester this fall.

Adam Houser is the National Director of Collegians for CFACT