EPA Proposes Light-Touch Replacement for Obama-Era Clean Power Plan

President Donald Trump in Washington DC on Aug. 20 2018

President Donald Trump in Washington DC on Aug. 20 2018. Andrew Harnik

Critics say the new plan would allow utilities to run older, dirtier power plants more often and extend the plants' overall operating life, undercutting potential environmental benefits.

"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.

Trump was expected to promote the new plan at a coal-country appearance in West Virginia on Tuesday.

"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", Underwood said, "in order to protect New Yorkers, and all Americans, from the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change".

The EPA Tuesday morning formally unveiled the details of its new plan to devolve regulation of coal-fired power plants back to the states, one that is expected to give a boost to the coal industry and increase carbon emissions nationwide.

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

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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".

Coal fired power plants have always been a staple of the US power grid, but are declining due to competition from natural gas, which is cheaper, and wind and solar power, which are far more agreeable to the environment and human health. According to the agency, once the plan is fully implemented, power sector emissions could fall 33 to 34 per cent below 2005 levels - roughly mirroring the same target as Obama's initiative, which sought to cut those greenhouse gas emissions 32 per cent relative to 2005. When the president asked him to become acting EPA administrator, Wheeler said the goal has always been to fight for clean air and water while protecting U.S.jobs as Acting EPA Administrator. "We love clean, beautiful West Virginia coal", he said, extolling the combustible mineral's superiority to less "indestructible" alternatives like windmills, gas, and solar energy.

"This is really a plan to prop up coal plants - or try to", said David Doniger, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defence Council, an environmental group.

The disparate treatment reflects the double standard toward climate-change policy in the media. More CO2 emissions means more of the other harmful stuff.

Trump has vowed to end what Republicans call a "war on coal" waged by Obama. The EPA says should all states adopt these new efficiencies - it's unlikely all will - emissions will go down by around 1% by 2030. The Supreme Court put the brakes on it in 2016 after energy-producing states sued the EPA, saying it had exceeded its legal reach.

According to the agency estimations, the power sector's greenhouse gas emissions would continue to decline in coming years, but due mostly to market pressures. Although the Trump administration forecasts a 4.5 percent to 5.8 percent increase in the production of coal for generating electricity under its proposal, analysts say the shift is unlikely to reverse a spate of already announced closures of coal-fired power plants.

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