Healey: 'The Fingerprints of The Coal Industry Are All Over This Plan'

Essen Germany

Wikipedia Coal may be indestructible but its infrastructure isn't. Witness Essen 1943/CC BY 2.0

President Donald Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule is the proposed replacement for Obama's Clean Power Plan, which was never implemented.

The Trump administration is planning to roll back the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule meant to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. The Obama administration was working to instate federal regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions and use less coal in favor of clean energy sources.

In the contrast to the CPP, the ACE Rule establishes a limited role for the EPA in regulating power plant emissions, leaving states with most of the regulatory responsibility.

The EPA said the plan could reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 33 or 34 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels and provide $400 million (€345 million) in annual net benefits.

The Trump administration on Tuesday moved to prop up the declining coal industry with an overhaul of Obama-era pollution rules, acknowledging that the increased emissions from aging coal-fired plants could kill hundreds more people annually and cost the country billions of dollars. North Dakota has seven coal-fired power plants, he said, and the state ranked ninth in coal production in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"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 change of plans announced in the Federal Register on Tuesday came as the EPA announced another proposed change to an Obama carbon pollution rule.

From 2000 to 2014, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants in Kansas decreased from 1,824 pounds per megawatt hour generated to 1,407 pounds. EPA will define specified efficiency improvements as the "best system of emission reduction" for existing power plants and make changes to the New Source Review permitting program to spur additional efficiency changes.

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"States will have a lot more time to submit their plans".

Many analysts view the relaxed legislation as an appeal to the coal industry.

The EPA can regulate those "straight up", Wehrum told reporters on a conference call.

"An important part of what we're doing here is getting us back into our lane", Wehrum said.

When asked about environmental concerns that coal will make the environment less safe, and that more people could die as a result of less regulation, Avella acknowledged the concern was fair. The governors from both states have pledged to add more clean energy resources, including solar and offshore wind, to their renewable energy portfolios. Critics say it is a blow to clean air. Rather than overstepping its role, the government will work with the states and give them the flexibility to set standards. Meanwhile, voters this fall will consider Initiative 1631, which is created to further reduce carbon emissions.

Before it was finalized, IN and several other states filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan.

Trump has vowed to end what Republicans call a "war on coal" waged by Obama.

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