The EPA acknowledges that the proposed plan is expected to "increase emissions of carbon dioxide" and "increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health", as compared to the projections for Obama's plan.
The new proposed rule, which the EPA calls the "Affordable Clean Energy" rule, would eliminate Obama-era standards that would have required power plants to reduce carbon emissions either by converting from coal to cleaner sources of energy or by building carbon-capture technologies.
"The entire Obama administration plan was centered around doing away with coal", Wheeler told the Journal in an interview.
Trump is expected to promote the new plan at an appearance in West Virginia, a top coal-producing state, on Tuesday.
Environmental advocates and the architects of former President Barack Obama's ambitious plan derided the Trump administration's proposed replacement as political pandering and said it represented a USA retreat from the global fight against climate change. Cheap natural gas has been largely responsible for shuttering hundreds of coal plants in the U.S. The falling price of renewables has only further loosened coal's grip on the power sector.
The Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed Monday, calls for states to determine their own emission standards for coal-fired power plants, rather than the federal government. The Obama administration had worked to nudge the country's power producers to natural gas, wind and solar power, and other less-polluting power sources.
It will have no effect in slowing efforts by groups such as the Sierra Club with its Beyond Coal campaign in pushing to close coal plants one at a time, said Liz Perera, the Sierra Club's climate policy director. The long lead time gives the company plenty of room to execute its plan even in the coal-dominated state of Alabama, where its Alabama Power Co. unit holds significant political sway.
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"This is really a plan to prop up coal plants - or try to", said David Doniger, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defence Council, an environmental group. "Climate change is real, no matter how much this administration tries to deny it", Baraba Underwood, New York State's Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement.
"Once again, this administration is choosing polluters" profits over public health and safety, ' he said.
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. More CO2 emissions means more of the other harmful stuff.
'They are continuing to play to their base and following industry's lead, ' Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator when the Obama plan was developed, said of the Trump administration and its new acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist.
"Tuesday's move opens a public-comment period on the proposal before any final approval by the president".
'The Obama administration waged a war on American energy with devastating consequences for workers and manufacturers, ' the Wisconsin Republican said. The new rule would allow coal power plant owners to make efficiency upgrades without triggering any additional costly repairs, as the previous administration hoped to do.
"We agree with those policymakers who have become increasingly concerned that coal retirements are a threat to grid resilience and national security", she said.