The Curious Contradictions of Trump's Coal Fixation

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The new plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would replace President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which was the USA response to efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions as part of the 2015 climate agreement in Paris.

Still, the ACE rule will help coal miners, coal companies, people who work for companies that supply the industry, and states like West Virginia that count on energy for tax revenue.

Yesterday, the EPA announced it would replace it with a new rule that gives states more latitude to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. That means our air quality won't be as be good as it could have been - by the Trump EPA's own Regulatory Impact Analysis - which will likely lead to needlessly higher levels of asthma and other respiratory illnesses than had the Obama EPA plan remained.

The Clean Power Plan took a wide approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging states to shift electricity generation away from coal and toward natural gas, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

Under the Trump plan, EPA aims to make power plants more efficient to meet emissions goals.

Andrew Wheeler, the EPA's acting administrator, said in a statement, "The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans".

In talking points obtained by E&E News, the administration says the EPA's own analysis shows "the proposal could reduce 2030 Carbon dioxide emissions by 0.7% to 1.5% from projected levels" under a business as usual scenario compared to 2005. But the EPA also estimates the extra pollutant from the rule could prematurely kill up to 1,400 people per year by 2030. The Clean Power Plan has been on hold since the Supreme Court stayed the regulation pending legal challenges.

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Jason Bohrer, president and CEO of the Lignite Energy Council, praised the rule and predicted it would accomplish "the goals that both the Obama administration set and those folks who are concerned about climate change want to achieve".

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

EPA called the Obama-era regulations on coal power plants "overly prescriptive and burdensome". We're cancelling Obama's illegal, anti-coal-destroying regulations.

"At exactly the time we should be sending a comprehensive signal for clean energy, we're totally squelching that signal", he added.

States would identify standards of performance for the existing power plants and set specific allowable emission rates expressed on a pound Carbon dioxide per MWH-gross rate for affected emission units based on the application of these technologies. The move allows states to set carbon emission standards instead of the federal government.

The United States' Environment Protection Agency (EPA) issued the proposal, even though its own technical analysis clearly states it would increase pollution.