Trump's Proposed Emissions Rules Show The Shift In Climate Priorities

24 August, 2018, 03:41 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Bexar county's rate for childhood asthma hospitalizations are nearly double that of the state.- SHUTTERSTOCK

The move is the agency's first under Trump to detail how it will regulate the power-sector carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, and it sets up months of public and legal reviews, and potentially a yearslong court battle.

The Trump administration's new plans mean that the life of aging, dirtier coal power plants may be extended, despite about 15 percent of coal-fired power plants having been retired in the past five years.

EPA projected the new plan would result in $400 million a year in economic benefits and reduce retail power prices by up to 0.5 percent by 2025. Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, said the rule change was "at the top" of the coal industry's list of policy priorities, because utility executives had been shuttering coal plants at a fast pace when faced with the prospect of curbing emissions of not just carbon dioxide, but mercury, soot and smog-forming pollutants. "A deadly coal plan that will expose our children and our families to deadly air because of coal pollution ..."

However, Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, said under the federal Clean Air Act, the agency can't control the entire electrical system.

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

Beyond the fact that state-to-state regulations will muddle the effects across states, "we are in a critical period with regard to addressing climate change", Howarth added. 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.

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The administration's much-relaxed rules for coal-burning plants would create 48,000 new cases of "exacerbated asthma" and 21,000 more missed days of school annually by 2030, according to EPA documents.

"EPA is not denying that climate change is happening or EPA's obligation to address the harmful health impacts of carbon pollution that's fueling climate change", says Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under President Obama.

A move by President Donald Trump's administration to get rid of the Clean Power Plan has some people in DE concerned about increased downwind greenhouse gas emissions from other states.

After all, she says that the market largely drove coal's decline, not environmental laws. In 2008, the US got 51 percent of its energy from coal, but that fell to 31 percent by 2016.

That is well below the 32% reduction target by 2030, from 2005 levels, set by Obama's clean power plan. The U.S. Supreme Court put those regulations on hold in response to the legal challenge.

A summary of the plan and people familiar with it tell The Associated Press that the administration also will let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades. The EPA called the Obama rules "overly prescriptive and burdensome".

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