Trump to Announce Massive Rollback of Obama-Era Coal Regulations

Trump administration's rewrite of Clean Power Plan will be a boon to the coal industry

EPA's proposal would grant states the ability to write their own weaker regulations for the plants and give them the ability to seek permission to opt out of regulations on power plant emissions. It will recommend a set of technologies to increase power plant efficiency, which individual states will then use to come up with plans of their own choosing.

"The era of top-down, one-size-fits-all federal mandates is over", said EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, in a phone call with reporters.

The move represents the latest bid by Trump to fulfill campaign promises to revive the coal industry and restore mining jobs.

Trump, who is scheduled to hold a rally on Tuesday in West Virginia, a top coal-producing state, has vowed to end what he has called "the war on coal" and boost domestic fossil fuels production.

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 USA retreat from the global fight against climate change.

But, by law, the EPA is required to try to cut climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Boom, gone", Donald Trump said about the clean power plan previous year. In that view, regulating coal-fired power plants is as far as the agency can go.

The Trump proposal may open a small window for a revival of coal even as it prolongs uncertainty over the US electricity mix and casts doubt on investments by utilities making decades-long choices about new plants and upgrades.

Legal challenges are certain to follow, testing how a plan that barely reduces greenhouse gas emissions (if at all) can possibly qualify as the "best system of emissions reduction".

In the scenario that most states would likely adopt, the EPA predicts that between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths would occur every year by 2030 because of the release of microscopic particulates linked to asthma and bronchitis. The agency also forecasts a modest, potentially 0.5 per cent reduction in retail electricity prices.

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The proposal is projected to release 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared with Obama's Clean Power Plan, according to The Washington Post.

It also would overhaul the triggers that prompt new permit reviews - and potentially expensive new pollution controls - that have been criticized as onerous by owners of power plants, refineries and other industrial sites.

"What we see is an ongoing significant shift in the direction of natural gas and renewable energy generation".

The electric-car axiom that "the dirtiest your electric auto will ever be is the day you buy it", because power plants keep getting cleaner may no longer be true.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook remarked, "When you have a president who doesn't believe in climate change and a former coal lobbyist running the Environmental Protection Agency, they'll stop at nothing to keep a dirty, dying industry on life support-no matter the cost to people and the planet".

"We are getting us back in our lane", said Bill Wehrum, the EPA's clean air chief.

What does this mean for climate change? Even where coal remains king, employment in the coal sector is declining, due to increased automation.

The root of the issue is simple: the Trump Administration has no interest in fighting climate change.

"The Obama EPA was really engaged in social engineering, which is not the roll of the U.S. EPA", Wheeler said on "Countdown to the Closing Bell".

Jim Matheson, head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, said the Trump proposal is more workable.

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