Trump EPA proposes rolling back another Obama-era coal rule

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (December 6, 2018) — The Environmental Protection Agency proposed another rollback Thursday aimed at easing controls on emissions from coal-fired power plants, this time for new ones.

The EPA's acting administrator signed a proposal that, if approved by the Trump administration after public review, would loosen an Obama-era rule that would have required cutting-edge carbon capture techniques for new coal plants. Andrew Wheeler said the curbs on coal emissions were "excessive burdens" on the industry.

Asked about easing the way for new coal plants in the context of the possible harm from coal pollution, Wheeler said "having cheap electricity helps human health."

Speaking alongside Wheeler at a news conference, Michelle Bloodworth of the coal industry group America's Power said the latest rollback could throw a lifeline to domestic coal-fired power producers.

Competition from cleaner, cheaper natural gas and other rival forms of energy has driven down coal use in the United States, so that this year will see the second-greatest number of closings of coal-fired power plants on record.

"It does appear that this proposal would make it feasible for new coal plants" to be built, Bloodworth said.

Wheeler said emission controls that the Obama rule would demand of new coal plants went beyond what was currently technologically possible. He argued the result of the rollback would be cheaper energy.

"This administration cares about action and results, not talks and wishful thinking," he said.

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