President Trump is rolling back his predecessor's environmental agenda - again. On Tuesday, the administration announced that it will soon be curbing coal regulations by replacing President Obama's Clean Power Plan with their "Affordable Clean Energy" proposal. The plan, the EPA says, will still cut overall emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, but will give states more authority to make their own decisions on how to do it.
Health officials say the change is a dangerous move.
"With today’s proposal, President Trump and Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler abandon much-needed public health safeguards against power plant pollution, placing the health of all Americans at risk, and especially those who are most vulnerable, including children, older adults, and people with asthma and heart disease,” Harold P. Wimmer, national president of the American Lung Association, said in a statement.
Other critics are pointing out that EPA's own analysis predicts the new proposal would result in more deaths.
The EPA says that Trump's rollback of coal regulations will result in "between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030" and "48,000 new cases of exacerbated asthma and at least 21,000 new missed days of school annually by 2030." https://t.co/ghfZkjVdio— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 21, 2018
But, proponents of the Affordable Clean Energy plan note that it will allow states to decide what environmental decisions are best for them, setting their own limits on the release of carbon dioxide and other materials.
"EPA takes its Clean Air Act responsibilities seriously and is committed to providing certainty to state and industry partners. We will not use our authority to pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace. Rather, our proposal would permit states to make energy decisions based on what works best for them rather than what the federal government tells them to do. The era of top-down, one-size-fits-all federal mandates is over," Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote in an op-ed in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.
Writing in the USA Today, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) says putting states in the driver's seat on the environment is a good thing. Wyoming was one of 27 states to challenge the Clean Power Plan in court.
"It is the states that can best tackle the question of how we reduce emissions without raising people’s electric bills and hurting our economy," Barrasso wrote. "The Obama top-down mandate from Washington wasn’t legal and wouldn’t work."
The Republican Attorneys General Association also liked what they heard from Trump White House. RAGA Chair and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following statement after President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency tossed out the so-called Clean Power Plan:
"I am thrilled the Trump administration kept its word to the American people by throwing out the so-called 'Clean Power Plan,'" she said. "The President and the Environmental Protection Agency have restored – through the "Affordable Clean Energy" rule – the rule of law, returned power to the states and added needed certainty to our energy industry – both our regulators and consumers.
"This day was only possible because of a bipartisan collection of state attorneys general who stood up to the Obama administration and filed repeated legal challenges to the blatant overreach of executive power. And, together, we won an historic stay from the Supreme Court of the United States – stopping the so-called 'Clean Power Plan.'"