Trump's EPA unveils weaker alternative to Obama power plant rule

Thursday, 23 Aug, 2018

Gina McCarthy, the Obama administration EPA chief who finalized the Clean Power Plan, called the Trump administration's proposal "just another step in industry's playbook to dismantle regulations that they find inconvenient but are absolutely essential for our public health and our kids' future".

The EPA says the new rule could reduce emissions by up to 34 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, more than Obama's Clean Power Plan. Instead, the Trump administration is emphasizing efficiency improvements at coal plants, while conceding that such a move will do little to reduce global warming.

"A coal plant that operates more efficiently may be called upon to run more hours, increasing the total amount of Carbon dioxide emitted overall", Lissa Lynch, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. Even where coal remains king, employment in the coal sector is declining, due to increased automation.

Under the same type of analysis used by Trump's EPA, the Obama-era agency found that the Clean Power Plan would prevent 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths a year by 2030.

For states, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said it eliminates federal oversight in a way that would leave room for environmental considerations while at the same time advancing Trump's goal of energy dominance.

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

The Trump Administration is dismantling the Obama-era Clean Power Plan which restricts greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called the replacement proposal Trump's "Dirty Power Plan".

But buried deep in the EPA's new 289-page "Regulatory Impact Analysis", are tables that make clear that Trump's new plan will kill tens of thousands of Americans and make millions sicker in the coming decades.

"The cost of failing to act is enormous - from increases in lung disease and heavy metal poisoning to the many health harms from climate change that doctors are already seeing among their patients", said Mona Sarfaty, director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.

My daughter went back to school here in West Virginia this week, so maybe that's why, as Trump comes to my home state tonight to once again peddle his false promises of reviving coal by scrapping the Clean Power Plan, I'm reminded of the childhood game "two truths and a lie".

"We agree with those policymakers who have become increasingly concerned that coal retirements are a threat to grid resilience and national security", she said.

The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed relaxing pollution standards for power plants nationwide, a move that could slow the decline of USA carbon emissions and lead to hundreds more premature deaths and thousands of asthma attacks and missed school days.

In a press conference, Inslee said President Trump's proposal is a deadly coal plan that will expose Washingtonians to deadly air, and that the president has sold out children's health to the coal industry. 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.

Just like Morrisey fought the Obama rule in court, several Democratic states like MA have promised to do the exact same thing for this new rule.

Obama's plan was created to cut USA carbon dioxide emissions to 32 per cent below 2005 levels 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. Depending on how aggressively states make efficiency standards for individual power plants, those numbers could decrease. The US is not on track to emission reduction targets set during the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement (nor are other major industrialized countries).