States greet Trump's new coal rules with lawsuit threats

Jim Watson  AFP  Getty Images

Jim Watson AFP Getty Images

In 2013, the owners of a Pennsylvania coal-fired power plan agreed to stop burning coal in two generating units and provide $1 million toward environmental mitigation in CT and New Jersey, following a lawsuit filed by the two states seeking to enforce the federal Clean Air Act.

Instead of emissions targets or overall reduction goals, the Trump plan takes a power-plant-by-power-plant approach, asking states to review their coal facilities and make tailored changes to improve efficiency. In the scenario the E.P.A. has pegged as the most likely to occur, the health effects would be significant. Several states, including California, are already meeting the targets the Obama administration laid out in the Clean Power Plan, even though that plan was never implemented.

The EPA called the Obama-era regulations on coal power plants "overly prescriptive and burdensome".

His state has made progress in cutting emissions, but 79 percent of its electricity still comes from coal.

The Trump plan broadly increases the authority given states to decide how and how much to regulate coal power plants.

As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, President Donald Trump is heading into the heart of coal country to deliver the good news.

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

That's what happened on Tuesday, with a proposal called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said "would restore the rule of law and empower state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable and affordable energy for all Americans".

Compared to Obama's plan, Trump's would reduce compliance costs by up to $6.4 billion.

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The Trump plan "will make no meaningful reductions" in greenhouse gas emissions "and it probably will make emissions worse", Doniger said.

According to the EPA, ACE is expected to increase coal production anywhere from 4.5 to 5.8 percent and decrease costs for consumers up to 0.5 percent.

The president is due to trumpet the new plan as he rallies supporters Tuesday night in the coal-producing state of West Virginia. "We've got a history where politicians continually put the interests of coal corporations above the health and safety of our people, be they coal miners or anyone else". The Trump EPA estimates that, by 2030, there will be an additional, for example, between 470 and 1,400 deaths a year as a result of an uptick in those traditional pollutants.

A worker in the coal industry handles coal at a coal prep plant on May 19, 2017 outside the city of Welch, West Virginia. The plunging price for natural gas, as well as for solar and wind energy, have pushed utilities to move toward cleaner burning fuels, regardless of federal regulations.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News.

During the conference, Wehrum also suggested that the new rule would keep the USA on track to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but the EPA's own documents also state that carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase.

"EPA takes its Clean Air Act responsibilities seriously and is committed to providing certainty to state and industry partners".

The implementation of those rules were halted by the Supreme Court in 2016, to give the courts time to consider the arguments over whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had exceeded its legal authority.

The United States' level of Carbon dioxide emissions actually decreased in 2017, but experts fear that a weakened regulatory scheme with decentralized goals could hike up rates of pollution nationwide. The plan is expected to address power plants individually rather than across the electric grid as the EPA proposed under Obama.

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