Trump administration moves to relax coal pollution rules

Trump administration moves to relax coal pollution rules

Trump administration moves to relax coal pollution rules

The Trump administration moved to dismantle another major piece of President Barack Obama's environmental legacy on Tuesday, proposing to dramatically scale back restrictions on climate-changing emissions from coal-fired power plants even as it acknowledged that could lead to more premature deaths and serious illnesses.

TUCKED inside the Trump administration's plan to ease carbon dioxide limits is a change that could breathe new life into scores of ageing coal power plants.

The rule, named the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, is a replacement for the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era attempt to curb greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants from power plants across the United States. The Clean Power Plan had a goal of cutting carbon emissions 32 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal would require states to submit plans for improving efficiency of coal-fired power plants.

"It respects the rule of law and will enable states to build affordable, clean and reliable energy portfolios", Andrew Wheeler, EPA acting administrator, said.

"The significant weakening of the Clean Power Plan under the Trump EPA provides far less incentive for utilities to modernize their electric power system compared to the original plan proposed during the Obama Administration".

The new plan, however, would allow for relaxation of pollution rules for older coal power plants. Legal challenges are already lining up, as the proposal awaits a 60-day comment period before it can be finalized.

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Wayde Schafer, conservation organizer for the Dacotah Chapter of the Sierra Club, said the Trump administration's plan won't reduce carbon dioxide emissions sufficiently to address climate change. "And, together, we won an historic stay from the Supreme Court of the United States - stopping the so-called 'Clean Power Plan'".

Assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum told reporters on Tuesday that the short-term, rate-based test aligns the New Source Review programme with other EPA standards.

"Asthma is a complex disease - we don't know all the causes - but we do know air pollution exacerbates it, which is a fancy way of saying it makes the attacks worse", said Paul Billings, national senior vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association.

Is climate change a problem?

"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. "We have abundant legal authority to deal with those other pollutants directly, and we have very aggressive programs in place that directly target those pollutants".

The Clean Power Plan has never gone into effect. They're often more expensive than natural gas, solar, or wind energy. Washingtonians deserve clean air to breathe.

One of the key differences between the Trump rule and the Obama one is the lack of pollution goals. Meanwhile, voters this fall will consider Initiative 1631, which is created to further reduce carbon emissions.

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