“We are gathered here today because the American public elected a president with a better approach,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday before signing a rule to get rid of Obama’s landmark coal regulation.
This is one of Trump’s bigger Obama-era rollbacks, and you can be sure someone will try to sue to stop him.
From CBS: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule Wednesday that will undo Obama-era climate requirements for coal plants in a way the Trump administration insists will still reduce emissions.
The new rule gives individual states wide discretion in deciding whether to require limited efficiency upgrades at individual coal-fired plants. The rule amounts to one of the Trump administration’s biggest rollbacks of environmental rules, replacing a landmark Obama-era effort that sought to wean the nation’s electrical grid off coal-fired power plants and their climate-damaging pollution.
Wheeler claimed the rule will continue the United States’ “environmental progress legally and with the proper respect for the states.” White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney claimed the Obama-era Clean Power Plan was “illegally” and taxed hard-working Americans.
Mr. Trump has campaigned on bringing back coal and coal jobs, even as the number of coal plants in America continues to decline. Supporters of the revised rule, like Mulvaney, say the Obama-era plan overstepped the EPA’s authority.
“This action is recalibrating EPA so it aligns with being the agency to protect public health and the environment in a way that respects the limits of the law,” said Mandy Gunasekara, a former senior official at the EPA who helped write the replacement rule. She now runs a nonprofit, Energy45, that supports President Donald Trump’s energy initiatives.
“The Clean Power Plan was designed largely to put coal out of business,” Gunasekara said. Trump’s overhaul is meant to let states “figure out what is best for their mission in terms of meeting modern environmental standards” and providing affordable energy, she said.
But critics suggest the Trump administration’s shift threatens the environment, and the move drew immediate backlash. New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted that her state intends to sue the administration over “their #DirtyPower rule.”
“This is yet another prime example of this administration’s attempt to rollback critical regulations that will have devastating impacts on both the safety & health of our nation,” she wrote.
The EPA’s own regulatory analysis last year estimated that Mr. Trump’s replacement ACE rule would kill an extra 300 to 1,500 people each year by 2030, owing to additional air pollution from the power grid.