Trump Administration Finalizes Energy Rule That Could Cause 1,400 Premature Deaths


CEI supported the CPP's repeal and argued ACE is a massive improvement on the Obama-era rule, but the group said it still violates a provision of the Clean Air Act that excludes EPA from putting greenhouse gas regulations on coal and natural gas power plants.

New York's attorney general says the state will sue to block the Trump administration's rollback of an Obama-era rule created to wean the nation's electrical grid off coal-fired power plants and their climate-damaging pollution.

Nevertheless, although it had not entered into force, Obama's plan had already been blocked in court battles in 27 states.

In comments submitted to the EPA, Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. described the new rule as "a vast improvement" over the Clean Power Plan it will replace.

The ACE rule allows states to set their own carbon emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants. "We are leveling the playing field and encouraging innovation and technology across the sector".

Rep. Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania Republican, called Mr. Obama's initiative the "Coal Punishment Plan".

"It provides the security that we're going to power West Virginia and power this country with coal and natural gas", he said.

The President specifically mentioned the hit America's manufacturing and coal industries would take under the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Mandy Gunasekara - the snowball-wielding mastermind behind the EPA's new rule and Trump's intention to remove the US from the Paris climate accord - told USA Today that the new rule had a better chance of surviving court challenges and was thus a stronger option for cleaning up the air.

Nicholas Steckler, head of US power at BloombergNEF summed up coal's predicament this way: "Coal is inferior to natural gas in many ways today - it's less flexible, it's higher cost, even its fuel is generally more expensive, and, of course, it's dirty".

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The rule also does not address the challenges associated with mining thermal coal in the region: it costs more to extract coal in Appalachia, partly because the region's coal seams have been mined for generations. In 2018, U.S. coal consumption reached a 39-year low of 687 million tons and it's expected to drop further this year to 600 million tons and to 567 million tons in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The exterior of the headquarters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in downtown Washington, D.C., April 2, 2017. In Appalachia, coal mines would produce at least 80 percent less coal in 2035 than they did in 2017. "She makes reference to the administration's "#DirtyPower rule".

"The contrast between our approach and the Green New Deal, or plans like it, couldn't be clearer", Wheeler said.

The prospect that conservative states might encourage upgrades to their coal plants has prompted concerns about the possibility of an "emissions rebound", in which upgraded coal facilities would run more frequently, pushing up overall emissions.

"This plan is created to thwart efforts to reduce efforts from the coal industry at the expense of human health and the environment", said Lisa Phelps of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives was more optimistic about the rule's impact. "Absolutely not", the senior EPA official said on a call with reporters.

The American Coal Council welcomes the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement of the final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

"The move fulfills part of President Donald Trump's promise to help the coal industry, but will likely face court challenges from environmental groups and several states who see the rollback as detrimental to clean air and efforts to fight the climate crisis", CNN's Ellie Kaufman wrote.

But because Congress has left the 2009 carbon endangerment finding in place the probability is that carbon emissions will once again be regulated nationally as a harmful pollutant under the Clean Air Act as soon as Democrats are back in power.