Trump administration moves to relax coal pollution rules

by Fredrick Graves August 23, 2018, 1:44
Trump administration moves to relax coal pollution rules

Meanwhile, Trump has also directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to bolster struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants to keep them open, warning that impending retirements of "fuel-secure" power plants that rely on coal and nuclear power are harming the nation's power grid and reducing its resilience.

EPA's proposal would grant states the ability to write their own weaker regulations for the plants and give them the ability to seek permission to opt out of regulations on power plant emissions. In the scenario the E.P.A. has pegged as the most likely to occur, the health effects would be significant.

In a statement, Republican Senator John Barrasso from the coal state of Wyoming welcomed the overhaul of the Obama administration's 2015 regulations, called the Clean Power Plan.

EPA called the Obama-era regulations on coal power plants "overly prescriptive and burdensome". Two-thirds of electricity comes from coal and natural gas.

"Coal plants emit more carbon pollution than all other sources". Even where coal remains king, employment in the coal sector is declining, due to increased automation.

"If the Trump administration's proposal to dismantle the Clean Power Plan is adopted, we will work with our state and local partners to file suit to block it - in order to protect New Yorkers, and all Americans, from the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change", Underwood said.

"What we're doing is moving forward in a measured approach to reduce Carbon dioxide in the long-term and provide cheaper electricity for all Americans", Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told FOX Business' Liz Claman on Tuesday.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX.

Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator when the Obama plan was developed, said the proposed changes show the Trump administration emphasizing "coal at all costs". The US might well have missed its emissions reduction goals set in the Paris climate agreement even with the clean power plan in place. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood also vowed to sue the Environmental Protection Agency if the plan is approved.

But documents released by the EPA together with the proposed rule say that implementing it is expected to "increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health". "We've got the cleanest country in the planet right now", Trump said.

But models provided by the agency estimate that under the Trump plan, 300 to 1,500 more people would die prematurely each year by 2030, compared to the Obama plan. "Not only was the one-size fits-all approach disastrous for West Virginia's coal industry, but there was also absolutely no consideration for the economic effects the plan would have on an energy-rich state like ours". Not to mention the fact that increased emissions of carbon dioxide will further accelerate global warming.

Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey cited this summer's wildfires and increasing droughts and coastal flooding as evidence that man-made climate change from burning coal and other fossil fuels is already well upon the United States. The AP obtained a copy of the summary, which asserts that the Obama-era plan exceeds the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act. Several coal-producing states, including Texas and West Virginia, led a group of industry stakeholders to ask the Supreme Court to stay the CPP in January 2016 pending an appeals court's ruling.

The CPP required states to come up with plans to reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants, aiming to cut emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Instead, the EPA argued that the law only allows the the agency to regulate individual power plants not the broader power system and electricity mix.

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