Trump's power plan proposal is "about coal at all costs"

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Today, about a third of US electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants, down from more than half at the turn of the century.

EPA officials said they could give no firm projections for the health effects of their plan because that will depend on how states regulate power plants within their borders.

The Obama-era rule, dubbed the Clean Power Plan, has never taken effect because the Supreme Court stayed it after more than two dozen Republican attorneys general and industry groups said the EPA exceeded its legal authority.

The lie is obvious - Trump has been preying on the fears of struggling Appalachian communities for years now by pledging to save the failing coal industry, wasting time and political capital that instead should have been spent on providing an economic transition for coal-impacted communities. Critics say focusing on improved efficiency would allow utilities to run older, dirtier power plants more often, undercutting potential environmental benefits. Even where coal remains king, employment in the coal sector is declining, due to increased automation.

The EPA's proposal is open for a public comment period, with a final rule expected later this year.

The new proposal establishes guidelines for states to use when developing any plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

"The Clean Power Plan would have reduced particle pollution along with the Carbon dioxide benefits by 25 percent by 2030".

Even so, the Obama plan has been a factor in a wave of retirements of coal-fired plants, which also are being squeezed by lower costs for natural gas and renewable power and state mandates that promote energy conservation. The new, proposed plan is called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE). New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood also vowed to sue the Environmental Protection Agency if the plan is approved.


Trump, who is expected to tout the plan at a rally Tuesday night in West Virginia, loves what he has called "beautiful, clean coal" and has launched a widespread effort to save the energy source from disappearing from the USA energy mix. "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".

Because of an increase in a tiny air pollutant known as PM 2.5, which contributes to smog and is linked to asthma and heart disease, the EPA predicts between 470 to 1,400 more deaths and thousands more lost days of school.

Combined with a planned rollback of car-mileage standards, the plan represents a significant retreat from Obama-era efforts to fight climate change and would reverse an Obama-era push to shift away from coal and toward less-polluting energy sources such as natural gas, wind and solar power.

The new EPA policy has no national emissions reduction target and barely mentions climate change.

Bill Wehrum, head of the EPA's air office, told reporters that the administration rejects any suggestion the agency has a broad legal duty to combat climate change through regulation of power grids or promotion of cleaner energy.

A worker in the coal industry handles coal at a coal prep plant on May 19, 2017 outside the city of Welch, West Virginia.

Obama's plan was created to cut US carbon dioxide emissions to 32 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The CPP would have played a large role in meeting that goal, though more regulations were likely needed to cut emissions by that much. Rather, it should help upgrade individual power plants and leave the energy mix down to the states.

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

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