Health advocacy groups blasted the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to roll back Obama-era limits on coal-fired power plant emissions, with one group arguing the changes could result in more than 1,000 avoidable deaths a year in the USA while doing nothing to address climate change.
Legal challenges are already lining up, as the proposal awaits a 60-day comment period before it can be finalized.
In that scenario, the Trump E.P.A. predicts its plan will see between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 because of increased rates of microscopic airborne particulates known as PM 2.5, which are risky because of their link to heart and lung disease as well as their ability to trigger chronic problems like asthma and bronchitis.
Trump has long targeted the plan - the cornerstone of Barack Obama's climate change agenda - by portraying it as disastrous for coal-producing regions in particular and the U.S. economy in general.
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 new approach is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by up to 1.5% by 2030, the EPA said, should all states implement effective plans. "The proposed rule would give our state's leaders flexibility to determine the best way to meet Clean Air Act requirements without forcing plant closures or sticking MS families with higher electric bills".
"We need to bring ourselves back within our authority", says Wehrum.
The Trump administration has hailed its overhaul of federal pollution restrictions on coal-burning power plants as creating new jobs, eliminating burdensome government regulations and ending what President Trump has long described as a "war on coal".
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"We expect the EPA to give the states lots of time to come up with their plans", said Liz Perera, the Sierra Club's climate policy director.
Siderewicz also said coal plants in OH are "uneconomical" anyway.
The Clean Power Plan was regulatory overreach, according to Sen. In other words, it's not going to move the needle much, though the talking points also inexplicably label the plan "comparable" to the Obama regulations. The VanEck Coal Vectors ETF (KOL) is up 7% in the past year even as USA coal production and exports have continued to fall under President Trump.
"I am thrilled the Trump administration kept its word to the American people by throwing out the so-called 'Clean Power Plan, '" she said.
However, Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, said under the federal Clean Air Act, the agency can't control the entire electrical system.
Health officials say the change is a risky move. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the plan "gives states the option to do just a little or absolutely nothing to reduce carbon pollution".
President Trump rolled back Obama's fuel efficiency rules earlier this month.