Trump relaxes anti-coal regulations
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 6/19/19, 01:12 pm
The Trump administration on Wednesday finalized the rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, a sweeping attempt to reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels. Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler signed the replacement Affordable Clean Energy rule, which gives states more leeway in requiring coal plants to implement upgraded technology.
“Americans want reliable energy that they can afford,” Wheeler said at a news conference, adding that there’s no denying “the fact that fossil fuels will continue to be an important part of the mix.”
Democrats and environmental activists immediately slammed the move. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that the state will sue to block the change, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dubbed the new rule the “Dirty Power Scam,” calling climate change “the existential threat of our time.”
President Donald Trump promised to support the hard-hit coal industry as part of his 2016 campaign. Mandy Gunasekara, a former EPA senior official who helped write the new rule, said the former regulations were “designed largely to put coal out of business.” Supporters of the revision argue that the EPA overstepped its authority with the original plan.
“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,” Gunasekara said.
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