BuzzFeedNews: “Coal plants will be able to release more pollution into the air thanks to a new policy revealed Tuesday by the Trump administration, a highly anticipated replacement to Obama’s signature climate rule. Called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal largely defers to states on how to curb coal plant pollution, the second-largest source of climate emissions in the US. The plan covers only coal plants, not natural gas or oil ones, and emphasizes making such plants more efficient. It also redefines EPA’s authority to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act in a narrower way and overhauls a permit process for big facilities. “The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans,” EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. The US is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, and has contributed the largest amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This announcement comes just two weeks after government officials proposed freezing car mileage standards, which will also increase climate and other air pollution. Automobiles and other forms of transportation narrowly overtook power plants as the nation’s largest climate emitters in 2016. These back-to-back changes rank among the Trump administration’s top efforts to undercut US responses to climate change, alongside threatening to quit the Paris climate agreement and axing a sweeping Obama-era executive order that required all agencies to reduce their climate footprint.
The Clean Power Plan, the 2015 rule that President Trump seeks to replace, aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. It offered states a menu of options by which to reach that goal, in many cases encouraging states to quickly transition away from coal power plants for electricity to less dirty energy sources, such as natural gas, solar, and wind…”