NY fires up support for Powering Past Coal Alliance

24 August, 2018, 06:27 | Author: Courtney Reynolds
  • Essen Germany

Hyde-Smith praised President Trump's ACE directive for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to replace President Obama's Clean Power Plan-a punitive top-down federal mandate meant to eliminate coal-powered power plants.

Assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum told reporters on Tuesday that the short-term, rate-based test aligns the New Source Review programme with other EPA standards.

The EPA estimates that the ACE rule could reduce 2030 Carbon dioxide emission by up to 1.5 percent from projected levels without the CPP, which amounts to taking 5.3 million cars off the road.

The new plan, however, would allow for relaxation of pollution rules for older coal power plants.

Even with that correction, the numbers are a significant drop from the agency's own earlier estimates about the additional deaths that would result from scrapping the plan.

The Trump administration is emphasizing "coal at all costs", said Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator when the Obama plan was developed.

This includes suggesting ways that individual states might regulate power plants.

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Michelle Bloodworth, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal lobby group, welcomed the EPA plan. In the scenario the EPA suggests is the most likely to occur, between 470 to 1,400 people would die in the year 2030 due to increases of the air pollutant PM 2.5, which can cause everything from minor irritations to cancer and heart disease. The agency also expects its rule change to result in as many as 96,000 more cases of exacerbated asthma in 2030, as well as 48,000 more lost work days, 140,000 more lost school days and 26,000 more cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms.

In Kentucky, about one in 10 children and adults suffer from asthma, which is aggravated by air pollution.

The effect of the regulatory change would depend heavily on the price of natural gas, the chief competitor to coal power, said Brian Potts, an energy and environmental lawyer and partner at Perkins Coie. EPA's underlying goal through its proposal is to "give states adequate time and flexibility to develop their state plans" and to provide each state with broad discretion in establishing specific performance standards for the affected utilities.

"An important part of what we're doing here is getting us back into our lane", Wehrum said. We're cancelling Obama's illegal, anti-coal-destroying regulations. The ACE rule focuses on efficiency improvements to reduce emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency openly admits in its proposal for new emission guidelines that the plan could lead to up 1,400 more premature deaths a year.

"I think the challenge that we're facing with climate change is enormous and it is requiring us to rethink how we get our electricity and how we use energy", said Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress. Regardless, Pete Ternes with D-T-E Energy says his company plans to close all of its coal plants by 2040 and is sticking with its plans to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions significantly. After all, she says that the market largely drove coal's decline, not environmental laws. "The coal industry is back".

The CPP set strict greenhouse gas emissions limits on companies in the power industry with the hopes of reducing US emissions by approximately one third from 2005 levels by the year 2030. The Clean Power Plan was blocked by court battles in 2016, as many Republican attorneys general thought the federal government was overstepping its power.

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