Trump administration proposes rolling back Obama's Clean Power Plan

Greg Lawrence
August 24, 2018

The Affordable Clean Energy rule, unveiled Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gives states more freedom to decide how power companies reduce the pollution blamed for climate change, even though many power companies and states are already on track to meet tougher requirements.

The EPA will take public comments on the ACE rule for 60 days from when it's officially posted and hold a public hearing.

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.

Trump is scheduled Tuesday evening to visit West Virginia, the nation's second-largest coal-producing state.

"This proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan will make our efforts to reduce carbon pollution more hard, and will remove a strong incentive for state and federal governments to work together to clean up our air". On Tuesday, a federal judge allowed California, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Oregon and MA to file a joint amicus brief supporting the state in the case.

"We have to really go in and see what the rule says before we can know the impact on NPPD and its operations", he said.

The new rule could reduce the emissions advantages of electric cars by allowing more "dirty" power plants to provide the energy that electric-car drivers use to recharge.

What are the main differences between the Trump administration's proposals and the clean power plan?

Environmental groups warned the focus on improving efficiency of coal-fired generators could raise overall carbon emissions.

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Nebraska, whose power generation relies heavily on fossil fuels, was among the states that filed a lawsuit challenging the Clean Power Plan.

Those moves have been rebuffed by California and a dozen other states, which have led a push to maintain high environmental standards and legally challenge the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era rules. The Environmental Protection Agency said the move "empowers states, promotes energy independence and facilitates economic growth and job creation".

"I am thrilled the Trump administration kept its word to the American people by throwing out the so-called 'Clean Power Plan, '" she said.

In the report, the EPA did not address the numbers previously reported regarding the Clean Power Plan.

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

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.

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.

One of the key differences between the Trump rule and the Obama one is the lack of pollution goals.

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