Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

EPA To Rollback Obama-Era CO2 Rule For Coal Plants

EPA To Rollback Obama-Era CO2 Rule For Coal Plants

The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era rules on climate change regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants in the United States, making it easier to build new ones. The agency said that the use of coal by the US power sector will drop by 4 percent, or 691 million short tons, during 2018.

Wheeler says the rollback will remove what he calls "excessive burdens" on the energy industry.

Although the Obama rule regulations did not directly prohibit the construction of new coal power plants, such carbon emission caps were an effective prohibition. He spoke alongside Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, a long-time opponent of former President Barack Obama's limits on carbon emissions.

The Trump administration took aim at two Obama-era environmental policies on December 6 to boost the oil and coal industries, proposing to open up a wildlife habitat to drilling and mining and remove hurdles to new coal-fired power plant construction.

"The standards effectively ban the construction of new coal power plants-a policy Congress never approved and would not pass if put to a vote", Lewis said in a statement.

The EPA will collect public comments on the proposal for 60 days and plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule change. He argued the result of the rollback would be cheaper energy.

The latest Trump administration targeting of legacy Obama administration efforts to slow climate change comes in the wake of multiplying warnings from the agency's scientists and others about the accelerating pace of global warming.

The EPA and 12 other federal agencies late last month warned that climate change caused by burning coal, oil and gas already was worsening natural disasters in the United States.

Trump's agenda to encourage more fossil fuels use clashes with a congressionally mandated government report that came out last month saying climate change is driven mainly by human activity and will cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.

"By replacing onerous regulations with high, yet achievable, standards, we can continue America's historic energy production, keep energy prices affordable, and encourage new investments in cutting-edge technology that can then be exported around the world". But he added "a lot of the media's focused on is the worst-case scenario". Let's be clear: New conventional coal-fired power plants are simply not a smart bet in today's power market dominated by cleaner generation sources and weakening carbon pollution standards for new plants will not alter that basic fact. Still, it also lists plans for 77 retirements. Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said "if the president cared about coal miners, he would start working on ways to help the industry's workforce adjust to the new economic reality and begin investing in their future". "We're not trying to pick winners and losers".

Jay Duffy, a legal associate at Clean Air Task Force, said lifting the carbon emissions limit failed to satisfy clean air law requirements for the best available emissions technology.

The Energy Information Administration wrote earlier this week: "Only one, relatively small, new coal-fired generator with a capacity of 17 megawatts is expected to come online by the end of 2019".

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