Science

Trump's easing of coal rules could kill 1,400 people per year

Trump's easing of coal rules could kill 1,400 people per year

The Trump Administration has argued that the EPA can't use the Clean Air Act to set emissions levels for the energy industry in general, but instead could regulate emissions at each individual source of emissions.

Still, the low cost of natural gas and renewable power are not affected by these new rules, the rules only make it somewhat easier for coal to compete.

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.

Demanding action from local and state elected officials "in the absence of US federal leadership", she added, "It's clear once again that the Trump administration cares only about propping up their fossil fuel executive friends over the well-being of people and the planet".

Trump, who is expected to tout the plan at a rally Tuesday night in West Virginia, loves what he has called "beautiful, clean coal" and has launched a widespread effort to save the energy source from disappearing from the US energy mix.

The move targets a major climate change effort of the Obama administration, which sought to reduce release of climate-changing emissions and other pollutants from the coal-fired power plants.

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, it will slow the decline of carbon dioxide cuts over time.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called the replacement proposal President Donald Trump's "Dirty Power Plan". "This dirty power plan is riddled with gimmicks and giveaways".

Administration officials are on track to finalize the new regulation next year, following a 60-day public comment period on Tuesday's proposal, but critics have already vowed to battle the effort in federal court and the legal disputes could take years to resolve.

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On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump promised to repeal Obama's rule, called the Clean Power Plan.

A reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would go hand-in-hand with a reduction in soot and smog-forming materials from power plants.

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.

"He asked me to keep cleaning up the air, keep cleaning up the water and continue to deregulate to provide more jobs for the American public", he said. Two years later, the EPA released a scientific document - known as the endangerment finding - showing that greenhouse gas emissions do just that.

But that still might not be enough to dramatically alter the landscape for US coal, which is losing USA customers as utilities increasingly turn to natural gas and renewable power to generate electricity.

The Affordable Clean Energy Rule incentivizes power plant owners increase their plants' efficiency. But it remains on the books as part of the EPA's legally mandated role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler praised the decision.

What are the main differences between the Trump administration's proposals and the clean power plan? Such changes "will barely make a dent in cutting heat-trapping emissions from the electricity sector, and could even, under some circumstances, lead to increased emissions depending on how much the plants are run", Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an emailed statement. More CO2 emissions means more of the other harmful stuff. "Climate change is real", McCarthy said in a statement.