Friday, 19 October, 2018

Hyde-Smith says Mississippians protected by Trump's gutting of clean power plan

EPA: Trump's easing of coal rules could kill 1,400 people per year If Trump and GOP don't understand climate change, they don't deserve public office
Grady Vargas | 24 August, 2018, 03:37

The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed replacing a signature Obama-era policy to combat climate change with a weaker plan that would let states write their own rules on coal-fired power plants, prompting critics to warn of dire environmental and health consequences. The administration's own analysis, however, revealed on Tuesday that the new rules could also lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 from heart and lung disease, up to 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems, a rise in the extremely fine particulate matter that can trigger bronchitis, and tens of thousands of missed school days because of to increased pollution.

The change is a major overhaul of former President Barack Obama's signature Clean Power Plan climate policy.

EPA officials said they could give no firm projections for the health effects of their plan because that will depend on how states regulate power plants within their borders.

The president is due to trumpet the new plan as he rallies supporters Tuesday night in the coal-producing state of West Virginia.

The Obama administration's Clean Power Plan has been put on hold since 2016 after pro-coal states and industry challenged it in the courts.

Just like Morrisey fought the Obama rule in court, several Democratic states like MA have promised to do the exact same thing for this new rule.

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"We need to bring ourselves back within our authority", says Wehrum. Coal-fired power plants, which have been shutting down in record numbers because of tighter regulations and competition from natural gas and alternative fuels, would get a reprieve. "This new proposal from the Trump administration returns power to the states where it belongs".

Trump has already vowed to pull the USA out of the Paris climate agreement as he pushes to revive the coal industry. In total, the Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce emissions from the power sector by 32% by 2030.

Wheeler said the EPA is allowing the free market and states to determine which energy source is best, in contrast to Obama's EPA which, he says, "picked winners and losers".

Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposed rule, called the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule", which would direct states to inventory their power plants and come up with a plan to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions of individual plants. "If the administration is honest about wanting to help coal miners, they should help coal communities diversify their local economies and provide transition assistance and worker retraining", he said.

In addition to giving states greater flexibility, the ACE rule would replace costly regulatory requirements which would increase electricity prices and cost jobs. The new plan, however, would allow for relaxation of pollution rules for older coal power plants. We've seen how climate change is impacting Lake Erie, with algae blooms causing a water crisis for the communities that depend on it. "It's a win for America", he said.

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. The EPA called the Obama rules "overly prescriptive and burdensome".

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