Trump's clean energy plan lowers costs for all Americans: EPA's Andrew Wheeler

by Edgar Hayes August 23, 2018, 1:48
Trump's clean energy plan lowers costs for all Americans: EPA's Andrew Wheeler

Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper tweeted: "Wildfires burning all over the world - smoke everywhere - and President Trump wants to burn more coal with fewer clean air protections by dropping the Clean Power Plan".

Obama's original "Clean Power Plan" would significantly reduce both carbon pollution and many toxic pollutants, including fine particulate matter and ozone smog. The government attributed the decline in large part to the decrease in emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, which came from substituting coal for natural gas or other non-fossil forms of energy at the nation's power plants.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called the replacement proposal President Donald Trump's "Dirty Power Plan".

Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator when the Obama plan was developed, said the proposed changes show the Trump administration emphasizing "coal at all costs".

"Beyond that, we are in a critical period with regard to addressing climate change", he said in an emailed statement.

The EPA projects that the rule could lead to 470 to 1,400 premature deaths each year compared with the Obama-era rule.

"It's possible that the market has moved so far that this plan isn't going to substantially slow down progress, but it's clearly not going to inspire anything", Thornton said.

The move is just the latest effort by the Trump administration to revive an ailing coal industry and strip climate change-fighting regulations established by the Obama administration. "To their credit, they tell us directly, 'We are doing something to cause great harm to the American people'". When the president asked him to become acting EPA administrator, Wheeler said the goal has always been to fight for clean air and water while protecting U.S.jobs as Acting EPA Administrator.

"We are getting us back in our lane", said Bill Wehrum, the EPA's clean air chief.

An EPA study forecast that compliance costs relative to the CPP would be slightly lower or higher depending on the assumed cost of making efficiency improvements to the coal-fired plants.

"Combined with the EPA's proposal earlier this month to ease gas-mileage requirements for vehicles, the move may actually increase the country's climate-changing emissions, according to some former top EPA officials, environmental groups and other opponents".

In other words, the United States could well have a new president, with a new vision for EPA, before the Trump plan triggers any substantial on-the-ground changes.

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.

The new proposal establishes guidelines for states to use when developing any plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Morrisey's office on Tuesday seized on the Trump administration's announcement, calling it a "critical step" to reverse the impact Obama administration regulations had on the coal industry.

Trevor Houser, an energy analyst with the Rhodium Group, said the USA power sector was already on track to meet the Obama administration's target of cutting emissions 32 percent by 2030. Officials in conservative states may allow utilities to extend the life of coal-fired units, while those in liberal states are likely to keep pressing for steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The implementation of those rules were halted by the Supreme Court in 2016, to give the courts time to consider the arguments over whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had exceeded its legal authority. Coal companies continue to retire coal plants at the same rate under Trump as they did under his predecessor - about one every 16 days - in red and blue states alike.


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