EPA Announces Replacement to Obama's Clean Power Plan

Bexar county's rate for childhood asthma hospitalizations are nearly double that of the state.- SHUTTERSTOCK

President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday announced a plan to weaken regulations on USA coal plants, giving a boost to an industry that former leader Barack Obama had hoped to wind down in order to cut harmful emissions that drive global warming.

The plan will be open for public comment, and EPA said it plans to issue a final rule early next year. But the EPA also estimates the extra pollutant from the rule could prematurely kill up to 1,400 people per year by 2030.

Jason Bohrer, president and CEO of the Lignite Energy Council, praised the rule and predicted it would accomplish "the goals that both the Obama administration set and those folks who are concerned about climate change want to achieve".

Hours after the head of the EPA unveiled a more industry-friendly version of power plant regulations, President Trump used a rally in West Virginia to claim that his policies have revitalized the coal industry.

The move targets a major climate change effort of the Obama administration, which sought to reduce release of climate-changing emissions and other pollutants from the coal-fired power plants. In each case the state was successful in blocking the new rule.

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"We need the regulations because the companies won't do what needs to be done unless they're regulated", he said. North Dakota has seven coal-fired power plants, he said, and the state ranked ninth in coal production in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Washington is poised to sue the Trump administration - again - over a possible change in environmental laws, state officials said Wednesday. The Obama plan was to cut the nation's reliance on coal and move toward more renewable energies.

EPA called the Obama-era regulations on coal power plants "overly prescriptive and burdensome". In a release, the EPA says the Affordable Clean Energy Rule "empowers states, promotes energy independence, and facilitates economic growth and job creation".

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, has vowed to fight the administration every step of the way.

"We're the only country in the world doing this, looking at coal as the future instead of understanding the future is about clean air, the future is about clean energy", Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator under Obama, said on CNN.

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Duke does "appreciate EPA's efforts to propose a regulation that fits within the agency's statutory authority while recognizing the important role our states play in generation planning", but it's committed to reducing 2030 Carbon dioxide emissions by 40% from 2005 levels.

Trump has vowed to end what Republicans call a "war on coal" waged by Obama.

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.

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

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