EPA pumps brakes on Obama-era carbon mandates for states

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

The EPA's planwould replace President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan - the centerpiece of the previous administration's efforts to combat climate change - by giving states more leeway to ease emissions rules for aging power plants.

The EPA's rule is created to bring energy efficiency to the utility sector and doesn't undercut the environmental protections that already in place and will remain on the books, according to Wheeler.

In talking points obtained by E&E News, the administration says the EPA's own analysis shows "the proposal could reduce 2030 Carbon dioxide emissions by 0.7% to 1.5% from projected levels" under a business as usual scenario compared to 2005.

In less than two years in office, Trump has appointed officials who deny the science of global warming, sought to defund climate change programs and begun the process of pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. In each case the state was successful in blocking the new rule.

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"We need to bring ourselves back within our authority", says Wehrum.

"The plan calls for only modest efficiency improvements at individual power plants, which 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", said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"The Trump administration is putting people's health and our environment in harm's way", Gina Raimondo, Democractic governor of Rhode Island, said.

"The fingerprints of the coal industry are all over this plan", Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. The Clean Power Plan was blocked by court battles in 2016, as many Republican attorneys general thought the federal government was overstepping its power.

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The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new regulations for the nation's coal-burning power plants Tuesday, giving more flexibility to emission control. Trump said, "We are putting our great coal miners back to work".

"We're basically at a time when the impacts of climate change have never been more obvious in the form of heat waves and wildfires, and drought and the spread of disease", she said. The argument has not yet been tested in court, although opposition to the rule proposed today may give the administration a chance to try it out. The change of regulatory direction by the Trump administration means coal is no longer targeted for elimination like it was under Obama and his EPA.

The new plan could take months or even years to take effect. "It also said the EPA can't just regulate greenhouse gases just with policy judgments that have nothing to do with the facts and nothing to do with the science".

Under the new rule, there will be "no lower limit" on emissions targets, Bill Wehrum, the assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, said during the phone conference. The EPA called the Obama rules "overly prescriptive and burdensome".

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