Trump Administration is Replacing Obama-era Clean Air Rules, Despite the Health Concerns Cited in the Latest EPA Report

A power plant located in Cheshire, Ohio. Credit Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

The Trump administration made a move on Tuesday to formally replace the Clean Power Plan with a proposal called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.

Following the regulation change, President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency released its own analysis of the new rules. The analysis revealed that the regulation change could lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 and create up to 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems.

Many news organizations were quick to point the EPA analysis out:

The Affordable Clean Energy rule allows individual states to create their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, contrasting from the federal government regulation of state’s emissions that existed under the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan, a set of pollution regulations announced by former President Obama in August 2015, aimed to reduce carbon pollution throughout the United States by moving the power sector away from non-renewable energy sources. The plan was projected to lower carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants by 32 percent by the year 2030.

Currently, energy production is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report released by the EPA in 2016. The report listed coal combustion to be the most carbon-intensive source of electricity production in the U.S., comprising about 67 percent of total carbon dioxide energy emissions.

Following the announcement of the Affordable Clean Energy rules, President Trump held a ‘MAGA’ rally in Charleston, West Virginia.

At the rally, President Trump said, “We are putting our great coal miners back to work.”

The Charleston Gazette-Mail released an article on Monday criticizing President Trump’s latest policy decisions. In it, they noted that many experts believe that the decline in coal industry jobs is going to happen regardless of Trump’s regulatory changes.

The latest employment numbers in the coal mining industry have shown a slight increase of approximately 4,200 jobs from July 2016 to July 2018. It is still unclear if the new rules will stimulate employment growth further.

The introduction of the Affordable Clean Energy rule follows many other attempts made by the Trump administration to reduce regulations on pollution. Previously in the year, the EPA was placed under the public eye for its rollback on an Obama-era rule designed to cut pollution from vehicle tailpipes.


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