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Trump emissions plan could dirty Minnesota's air, but energy transition continues

Trump emissions plan could dirty Minnesota's air, but energy transition continues

The new plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would replace President Obama's Clean Power Plan, which was the US response to efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions as part of the 2015 climate agreement in Paris.

"A coal plant that operates more efficiently may be called upon to run more hours, increasing the total amount of Carbon dioxide emitted overall", Lissa Lynch, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. The Environmental Protection Agency said the move "empowers states, promotes energy independence and facilitates economic growth and job creation".

Acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler praised the decision. "We've got the cleanest country in the planet right now", Trump said.

But the Natural Resources Defense Council called Trump's proposal the "Dirty Power Plan".

The EPA estimates the new plan will save $400 million in compliance cost and will reduce Carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 percent by 2030. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, called the Clean Power Plan "a complete overreach" by the federal government that was "disastrous" for her state's coal industry. The proposed rule is far narrower than the Obama plan, which sought to cut emissions across the power sector rather than only at individual plants. Survey results showed that 72 percent of those responding to the survey said coal may become obsolete in the decades ahead.

The models for the Trump plan also project tens of thousands of additional major asthma attacks and hundreds more heart attacks compared with the Obama plan.

The Department of Energy in May called on stakeholders to submit information that could support the design and operation of small-scale coal "plants of the future".

Combined with the EPA's proposal earlier this month to ease mileage requirements for vehicles, the move could increase the country's climate-changing emissions, according to some former top EPA officials, environmental groups, and other opponents.

Trump is expected to tout the proposal as a lifeline for coal at a West Virginia rally later on Tuesday (we'll probably also hear about CLEAN COAL!), but it's unlikely to save a dying, economically unfeasible industry.

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The Clean Power Plan - created to be the centerpiece of his presidency-defining mission to combat climate change - has been watered down to the point of irrelevance by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News.

The EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will instead hold two public hearings on the proposal, known as the SAFE Vehicles Rule, in Pittsburgh and Fresno, Calif. on September 21 and 24 respectively.

Scientists said that without extensive study they can not directly link a single weather event to climate change, but climate change is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme events such as storms, droughts, floods and wildfires.

Obama's original "Clean Power Plan" would significantly reduce both carbon pollution and many toxic pollutants, including fine particulate matter and ozone smog.

The rule also could allow power plant owners to sidestep costly permits for those improvements.

Morrisey's office on Tuesday seized on the Trump administration's announcement, calling it a "critical step" to reverse the impact Obama administration regulations had on the coal industry. They're often more expensive than natural gas, solar, or wind energy. The Clean Power Plan is the EPA program to cut risky carbon pollution from coal and fracked gas power plants, and Trump will no doubt gleefully proclaim that, by gutting the standard, coal's resurrection is just around the corner.

"Today's proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump's goal of energy dominance", Wheeler said. The Supreme Court put the brakes on it in 2016 after energy-producing states sued the EPA, saying it had exceeded its legal reach.

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