Washington state to fight Trump's coal plant plan

Washington state to fight Trump's coal plant plan

EPA is proposing the Affordable Clean Energy Rule to give states the primary authority to design their own plans to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants.

"We are putting our great coal miners back to work", declared the President at a rally in West Virginia this week. The Obama administration was working to instate federal regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions and use less coal in favor of clean energy sources.

Bill Wehrum, head of the EPA's air office, said the administration rejects any suggestion that the agency has a broad legal duty to combat climate change through regulation of power grids or promotion of cleaner energy.

Like the CPP, the new proposed regulation, entitled the Affordable Clean Energy ("ACE") Rule, aims to eliminate about a third of the industry's 2005 Carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Twenty-seven states held the plan up in court, saying it was overreach by the EPA, which had been instructed to responsibly regulate coal plant emissions. The Trump administration proposes minor efficiency improvements at coal-burning plants and will permit states to ease pollution rules for plants that require upgrades, meaning they will remain open longer.

The Trump energy plan would allow the states to relax power plant pollution rules. "The era of top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates is over", said Andrew Wheeler, interim administrator of the EPA, as he announced that states will have more leeway to devise their own emissions guidelines.

The EPA has said the rule still would have the net effect of reducing carbon emissions from current levels.

EPA will accept comments on the rule for 60 days.

"So if you get increases in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from coal plants that are running more or running longer, then the downwind states, including the states in New England, will bear the brunt of this unsafe air pollution", Doniger said.

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And no new coal plants are planned to go online, not only due to market conditions but also because the industry has taken into account risks associated with anticipated tighter future coal regulations.

"This seems to be driven by the economics as far as the coal industry versus solving the problem", he said. It says the new plan would act legally and provide more flexibility to the states.

IN has 16 coal-fired power plants, and gets more than 70 percent of its power from coal.

President Trump has made good on a campaign promise to help the coal industry.

In many states, the CPP's limits on emissions have already been met because the cost of generating power from natural gas and renewable energy like wind and solar is cheaper than coal.

"At exactly the time we should be sending a comprehensive signal for clean energy, we're totally squelching that signal", he added. By implication, both analyses shed light on the Trump Administration's aggressiveness on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon. The EPA called the Obama rules "overly prescriptive and burdensome".

Bob Herbert of Dover said he worries the Trump Administration's proposal could worsen air quality in Delaware.

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