EPA moves to dramatically cut regulation of coal power plants

Trump administration's rewrite of Clean Power Plan will be a boon to the coal industry

The John E. Amos coal-fired power plant operating on the banks of the Kanawha River near Winfield

"We are putting our great coal miners back to work", declared the President at a rally in West Virginia this week.

The rollback of the Clean Power Plan is part of a broader repeal of federal regulations by the Trump administration laid out in a March Executive Order, which directed agencies to "immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind" them.

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.

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.

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Andrew Wheeler, acting EPA administrator, said the proposed rule restores the rule of law, empowers states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provides modern, reliable and affordable energy for consumers.

The new rule takes a much narrower approach to regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Clean Air Task Force, agreed that the changes that will be allowed under Trump's new rules will amount to "essentially replacing worn out equipment, which will allow these plants to run longer and harder and to create more pollution".

Tuesday's move opens a public-comment period on the proposal before any final approval by the president.

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The White House claimed it would also save $6.4 billion in compliance costs for industry, compared to the Obama plan.

"The fingerprints of the coal industry are all over this plan".

Michelle Bloodworth, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal lobby group, welcomed the EPA plan. As recently as last October, the agency said that doing away with the plan would mean as many as 4,500 additional deaths.

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". That plan was introduced in 2015 and set national targets for cutting Carbon dioxide emissions while nudging utilities toward cleaner energy sources such as wind and solar. I refuse to accept the idea that we have to choose between clean air and clean drinking water and good jobs. "What our proposed program would do is gives states flexibility to take those unique aspects of each of the power plants in their jurisdiction into consideration and then set standards that are tailored to the particular characteristics of the facility". We're cancelling Obama's illegal, anti-coal-destroying regulations. That will hasten climate change along with their copious carbon pollution and endanger public health with soot and particulate matter emissions. The Obama plan was to cut the nation's reliance on coal and move toward more renewable energies.

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

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