Trump administration proposes rolling back Obama's Clean Power Plan

Aug 22, 2018, 03:38
Trump administration proposes rolling back Obama's Clean Power Plan

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.

In a statement, Republican Senator John Barrasso from the coal state of Wyoming welcomed the overhaul of the Obama administration's 2015 regulations, called the Clean Power Plan. Wheeler said in a statement that this would provide "the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump's goal of energy dominance".

In a statement Tuesday, Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, said, "EPA has an important role when it comes to addressing the Carbon dioxide from our nation's power plants".

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.

The Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyoming.

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.

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. That would allow older coal power plants to retrofit with cheaper efficiency upgrades, which could in turn make it cheaper to keep those power plants running for longer. The plunging price for natural gas, as well as for solar and wind energy, have pushed utilities to move toward cleaner burning fuels, regardless of federal regulations.

Still, the low cost of natural gas and renewable power are not affected by these new rules, the rules only make it somewhat easier for coal to compete. "It would mean more climate-changing pollution from power plants".

Tuesday's move opens a public-comment period on the proposal before any final administration action. The plan is expected to address power plants individually rather than across the electric grid as the EPA proposed under Obama.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called the replacement proposal Trump's "Dirty Power Plan".

Pointing to recent extreme weather which experts have tied to the global climate crisis that's resulted from burning fossil fuels, Andrea McGimsey of Environment America said, "At a time when communities across the USA are threatened by scorching temperatures, historic wildfires, and air pollution, this move is sheer reckless folly, and it could have profound consequences".

"Clean energy jobs now vastly outnumber fossil fuel jobs, but this administration once again wants to put its thumb on the market scale to prop up these industries and slow the growth of American jobs", Keefe added. Even where coal remains king, employment in the coal sector is declining, due to increased automation.

"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". Officials pointed to the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the Clean Power Plan in response to a lawsuit arguing that the EPA had over extended itself.

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