Science

Trump administration proposes rolling back Obama's Clean Power Plan

Trump administration proposes rolling back Obama's Clean Power Plan

At a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday, President Trump alluded to the EPA's new plan to roll back environmental regulations in an effort to fulfill a campaign promise to boost the coal industry.

"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. His boss, Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal lobbyist. Trump has long targeted the plan - the cornerstone of Barack Obama's climate change agenda - by portraying it as disastrous for coal-producing regions in particular and the USA economy in general.

Environmentalists and other opponents said they expect legal challenges, arguing the Trump administration is abdicating its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act as set by Congress and the courts.

President Donald Trump is expected to promote the new plan at an appearance in West Virginia on Tuesday.

Compared to Obama's plan, Trump's would reduce compliance costs by up to $6.4 billion. "We love clean, attractive West Virginia coal", he said, extolling the combustible mineral's superiority to less "indestructible" alternatives like windmills, gas, and solar energy.

"Beyond that, we are in a critical period with regard to addressing climate change", he said in an emailed statement. Several states, including California, are already meeting the targets the Obama administration laid out in the Clean Power Plan, even though that plan was never implemented. The Obama plan says 1,500 and 3,600 premature deaths would be avoided.

"This is really a plan to prop up coal plants - or try to", said David Doniger, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defence Council, an environmental group.

Industry officials praised the move. He made no direct mention of the EPA's announcement in the morning but ended a tweet about his upcoming trip by exclaiming, "CLEAN COAL!".

A new plan announced Tuesday by the Trump administration to turn the regulations of carbon emissions over to individual states won't likely affect the way Minnesota gets its power in the future.

"The US is not on track to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement, the best chance that we have for averting catastrophic climate change", said Houser, who served in the State Department under President Barack Obama.

Scientists say that without extensive study they can not directly link a single weather event to climate change, but that it is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme events such as storms, droughts, floods and wildfires.

Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of MS predicted the president's proposal should protect her constituents from threatened power plant closings and electricity rate hikes. Horwath said that even Obama's Clean Power Plan was only a step in the right direction, adding that "to pull back even from this start is simply incomprehensible, given the climate crisis our country and the world face". "Trump's allegiance is clear - he's willing to pollute our air and undermine families' health to play the hero for a few coal industry executives". 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.

Meanwhile, Trump has also directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to bolster struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants to keep them open, warning that impending retirements of "fuel-secure" power plants that rely on coal and nuclear power are harming the nation's power grid and reducing its resilience.

The Clean Power Plan had a goal of cutting carbon emissions 32 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Trump's regulations would allow the states rather than the federal government to create emission standards.

Obama's energy plan aimed to usher in the strictest anti-pollution measures in history on power plants, but was put on hold in 2016 by the US Supreme Court.

Some environmentalists and states attorneys general have announced plans to sue the Trump administration over the new rule, citing both health risks and longer-term impacts on health and then environment as a result of climate change. In his inaugural State of the Union address, the president declared an end to the "war on clean coal".

The White House heralded the new rules because they would "decrease bureaucratic red tape" while keeping energy affordable.