The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a new proposal to scrap the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that restricts emissions from coal-fired power plants. The new rules would give states the authority to write their own weaker regulations for the power industry, several news outlets reported.
The proposal — known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule — fulfills a campaign promise by President Trump to roll back the Clean Power Plan, launched in 2009, in an effort to stave off what he termed the Obama administration’s “war on coal.” The Clean Power Plan sought to reduce emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Trump administration’s new plan, however, erases this requirement, sets no national emissions reduction targets, and gives states the authority to decide how much to cut emissions from power plants. The public will have 60 days to submit comments on the rule before it is finalized.
“Today’s proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump’s goal of energy dominance,” Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the EPA, said in a statement.
According to The Guardian, the amount of CO2 emitted from U.S. power plants over the next decade will be at least 12 times higher than under the Obama-era plan. The 300-page rule acknowledges that an increase in CO2 emissions and fine particulate pollution could lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030, The New York Times reported. It also notes that the new plan could cause 48,000 news cases of exacerbated asthma and at least 21,000 new missed school days annually.
The Trump plan “is essentially a huge gimme to coal-fired power plants,” Gina McCarthy, the head of the EPA under President Obama and a chief architect of the Clean Power Plan, told reporters last night. It would “give the states the option to do just a little or absolutely nothing to reduce carbon pollution.”
President Trump will be hosting a rally today in West Virginia’s coal country, a place where, while wearing a coal miner’s helmet, he pledged in 2016 as a candidate to undo the Clean Power Plan.
For more on President Trump and the coal industry, read “Why the U.S. Coal Industry and Its Jobs Are Not Coming Back.”