How Trump's rules on coal-fired power plants differ from Obama's

Jim Watson  AFP  Getty Images

Jim Watson AFP Getty Images

The EPA acknowledges that the proposed plan is expected to "increase emissions of carbon dioxide" and "increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health", as compared to the projections for Obama's plan.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency released the so-called "Affordable Clean Energy rule", a framework meant to replace President Barack Obama's landmark Clean Power Plan.

"The entire Obama administration plan was centered around doing away with coal", Wheeler told the Journal in an interview.

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

Obama's plan was created to cut USA carbon dioxide emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. At the same time, it also eliminates a longstanding rule that forced plants to install new pollution controls whenever they undertake major renovations.

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The Trump administration's plan, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, rolls back numerous protections from Obama's Clean Power Plan that sought to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants and shift incentives to cleaner sources of energy.

Trump's proposal for modest efficiency improvements at power plants falls far short of what's needed to combat climate change, environmentalists said.

What are the main differences between the Trump administration's proposals and the clean power plan?

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. "We love clean, beautiful West Virginia coal", he said, extolling the combustible mineral's superiority to less "indestructible" alternatives like windmills, gas, and solar energy.

Environmental groups warned the focus on improving efficiency of coal-fired generators could raise overall carbon emissions. Andrew Wheeler, the current acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a former coal industry lobbyist. "We have ended the war on coal, and will continue to work to promote American energy dominance!" he tweeted in May.

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The lie is obvious - Trump has been preying on the fears of struggling Appalachian communities for years now by pledging to save the failing coal industry, wasting time and political capital that instead should have been spent on providing an economic transition for coal-impacted communities.

"We have abundant legal authority to deal with those other pollutants directly, and we have aggressive programs in place that directly target emissions of those pollutants".

The CPP, which Obama's EPA finalized in 2015, sought to reduce emissions from power plants to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Supreme Court put the plan on hold in 2016 following a legal challenge by industry and coal-friendly states, an order that remains in effect. The new plan would give utilities and states more flexibility in achieving emissions reductions, but critics say it could harm public health. John McManus, senior vice president of environmental services at American Electric Power, one of the nation's largest electric utilities, said in an interview that the proposal could keep some coal plants operating that would have had to close otherwise.

'We agree with those policymakers who have become increasingly concerned that coal retirements are a threat to grid resilience and national security, ' she said.

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