US EPA scraps Obama-era plan limiting coal emissions

The new Affordable Clean Energy rule by Trump administration claims will reduce CO2 emissions by 35% below 2005 levels

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 20 June 2019
Photo: Getty Images

American states will now get to set their own guidelines to keep in check emission from coal-fired power plants, according to the new Affordable Clean Energy rule. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new guidelines dilute the Barack Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from thermal power generators.

Existing coal-powered plants can now continue to operate as they were; they would not be forced to meet the regulations, the CNN reported on June 19, 2019.

The CPP, that forced companies to switch to greener power sources, was opposed by a section for being restrictive — in line with President Donald Trump's much-publicised scepticism about global warming and climate change. 

“Unlike the Clean Power Plan, ACE adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford,” Andrew Wheeler, administrator at EPA, said.

The rule will also ensure that Americans can access to affordable and reliable energy, he claimed.

With global greenhouse emissions showing no sign of peaking, the move could have large environmental impact — higher levels of particulate matter — that can affect health and lead to an additional 1,400 premature deaths per year, the EPA had said earlier.

A senior EPA official quoted by CNN claimed ACE would outpace CPP.

The CPP aimed to cut power sector emissions by 30 per cent below the 2005 levels by 2030. ACE boasts of being able to reduce CO2 emissions “by as much as 35 per cent below 2005 levels”.

The US has been historically the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases that has led to climate change and still continues to be the second biggest emitter.

In June, 2017, Trump also withdrew US from the Paris Agreement, which aims to restrict emissions “well below” 2 degrees Celsius to limit global warming.

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