Trump moves to weaken Obama climate policy, bolster coal industry

air pollution
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled its final plan to rewrite a major Obama-era climate change policy, replacing proposed regulations that cracked down on coal-burning power plants with a weaker alternative.

The administration's plan would gut the Clean Power Plan, a sweeping climate change policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions drafted under President Barack Obama. Stalled by the courts, the rule was never enacted.

Under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency has branded the rewrite as the Affordable Clean Energy rule and designed it to fulfill the president's campaign promise to bring back the coal industry.

The new power plan does away with what had been aggressive nationwide goals for reducing the energy sector's carbon footprint. It relieves heavily on coal plants—the largest producers of carbon dioxide within the electricity industry.

The plan is also expected to lead to additional soot and smog-forming emissions. According to the EPA's own analysis, it could lead to more cases of upper respiratory illness and cause an estimated 1,400 premature deaths each year by 2030.

While the former rule would have pushed utilities to shift their operations away from coal and toward cleaner-burning fuels, the Trump rule has been hailed by the as a move that would tilt the market back in its favor.

Energy experts don't think the rule can reverse coal's declines. Coal has been steadily losing its foothold in the American energy marketplace to cheaper natural gas and renewable sources like wind and solar.

Though the industry has blamed government regulations like the Clean Power Plan for making it noncompetitive, demand for coal has fallen without the Obama-era rule ever taking effect.

Environmentalists and climate-conscious states like California have said they are prepared to challenge the new rule, which could face an uphill battle in court. The Clean Air Act obligates the federal government to regulate and the Trump administration may have difficulty convincing the courts that its rule is the best way to do that.

"This is nothing more than an unlawful extension for masquerading as a climate rule," said Conrad Schneider, advocacy director at the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental advocacy group that's readying a lawsuit over the new rule. "They're trying to tie the hands of future administrations by issuing this do-nothing rule."


Explore further

Affordable Clean Energy rule may lead to more air pollution and carbon emissions, study says

©2019 Los Angeles Times
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Citation: Trump moves to weaken Obama climate policy, bolster coal industry (2019, June 19) retrieved 21 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-trump-weaken-obama-climate-policy.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
30 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jun 19, 2019
According to the EPA's own analysis, it could lead to more cases of upper respiratory illness and cause an estimated 1,400 premature deaths each year by 2030.
So I presume then that means Trump cares more about the coal industry than he does about human lives and is willing to have innocent people die for preserving the coal industry.

Jun 19, 2019
The acts of President 3 inch are directed by the dictates of Putin.

Jun 19, 2019
Do we actually need to be exposed to democrat propaganda on what is purported to be a science-based web site? Other anti-administration and anti republican notifications are boldly included and highly noticeable as one cruises the information, and leaves the impression that everything is selectively curated to press a liberal point of view. This should definitely stop.

Jun 19, 2019
@BENRAS.
Do we actually need to be exposed to democrat propaganda on what is purported to be a science-based web site? Other anti-administration and anti republican notifications are boldly included and highly noticeable as one cruises the information, and leaves the impression that everything is selectively curated to press a liberal point of view. This should definitely stop.
Consider. Science/pro-active action has always been considered "inconvenient" by CROOKED businesses/govts enforcing/preferring mass ignorance. Hence the Historical Record of political/religious/financial wealth/power usually gained by unscrupulous actors/criminals exploiting/promulgating/legislating that ignorance. For example, people such as yourself would have labeled "liberal point of view" the articles recommending seat belts in cars; removal of Lead from Petrol; introducing water/air pollution-mitigation laws etc. Do you prefer the US going back to air/water pollution like in India/China now? :)

Jun 19, 2019
I wonder why people voted Trump to power if they disliked him and his policies so much. People's mandate, the Constitution, must be respected.

Jun 19, 2019
It's disgusting how these people are being used as political pawns. Abandoned by Democrats and deceived by Republicans. Unless there is a plan to compete with Australia for the Chinese coal market, then that industry is essentially dead in the US.

Jun 20, 2019
It's Devastating and ludicrous how you and your puppets have NO regards for the Earth and it's inhabitants, dancing around on here like a clueless clown looking like the greatest idiot of all times to the world. Not complaining, you are dragging the Big Carbon industries names so deep through the mud, every last bit of a person, even the non educated knows what you stand for.

Jun 20, 2019
oh guptm, you are losing track of the denialist spew you are paid to agitprop.

dontcha know pimp putin's whore trump has declared himself & his crime family as being above the Law, beyond the Constitution & immune to Justice.

above the law?
outside the law?

outlaw....

historically to be declared "outlawed" meant no one could offer you food or shelter.
every man's hand was against you.
you could be killed without penalty to your attackers.

so...
when the Bogus POTUS brags of being invulnerable to Judicial restraint?

just goes to show that lil'dumpy dummy strunpey
well earned all those fails on his school report cards!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more