EPA proposes relaxing coal plant emissions rule

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"As compared to the standards of performance that it replaces... implementing the proposed rule is expected to increase emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health", the EPA said in its analysis.

President Trump is heading to Charleston, West Virginia, today to hold a campaign rally and announce a massive rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations for coal-fired power plants.

"The Trump administration is emphasizing "coal at all costs", said Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator when the Obama plan was developed".

Details of the plan are being released Tuesday morning, and President Donald Trump is expected to promote the new policy during a trip Tuesday evening to Charleston, West Virginia.

Environmental advocates and the architects of former President Barack Obama's ambitious plan derided the Trump administration's proposed replacement as political pandering and said it represented a US retreat from the global fight against climate change.

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The plan requires states to come up with their own rules to make coal-fired power plants more efficient. That equals the 13.5 GW of coal retired in 2016 and runs second to the 19.5 GW of coal-fired power retired in 2015.

In many states, the CPP's limits on emissions have already been met because the cost of generating power from natural gas and renewable energy like wind and solar is cheaper than coal. She said strong, immediate action was needed to curb climate change pollution and promote affordable, clean, and sustainable energy. The Clean Power Plan never went into effect because of court battles.

Environmentalists and other opponents said they expect legal challenges, arguing the Trump administration is abdicating its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act as set by Congress and the courts.

Duke Energy's most recent sustainability report outlines a goal of cutting its coal- and oil-fired power from 61 percent in 2005 to 33 percent in 2017 and 16 percent in 2030.

Instead, the Trump administration is emphasizing efficiency improvements at coal plants, while conceding that such a move will do little to reduce global warming.

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In that scenario, the Trump E.P.A. predicts its plan will see between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 because of increased rates of microscopic airborne particulates known as PM 2.5, which are unsafe because of their link to heart and lung disease as well as their ability to trigger chronic problems like asthma and bronchitis.

The disparate treatment reflects the double standard toward climate-change policy in the media.

Morrisey's office on Tuesday seized on the Trump administration's announcement, calling it a "critical step" to reverse the impact Obama administration regulations had on the coal industry. The rule dictated specific emission targets for states based on power-plant emissions and gave officials broad latitude to decide how to achieve reductions.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the Affordable Clean Energy rule once it appears in the Federal Register. At the state and local level, we'll keep winning victories to replace coal with clean energy.

Michelle Bloodworth, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a trade group that represents coal producers, called the new rule a marked departure from the "gross overreach" of the Obama administration and said it should prevent a host of premature coal-plant retirements. By contrast, the EPA says that the new rule would reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by just 1.5 percent (PDF).

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