"My first impression of the plan is that it's not going to do a whole lot", said James Holtkamp, a lawyer and member of the Utah Manufacturers Association air quality committee. "But I'm getting rid of some of these ridiculous rules and regulations, which are killing our companies ... and our jobs".
"What we're doing is moving forward in a measured approach to reduce Carbon dioxide in the long-term and provide cheaper electricity for all Americans", Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told FOX Business' Liz Claman on Tuesday.
A former EPA official who worked on the Clean Power Plan accused the EPA under the Trump administration of trying to confuse the public about the ACE rule's anticipated consequences. His plan restricted greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
"Today's proposal provides the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump's goal of energy dominance", acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a news release. The agency projected a smaller drop in carbon dioxide levels than the Obama administration's regulation while saving the power sector $400 million a year in compliance costs. Second, it gives states greater authority in meeting emissions targets for their respective power plans.
In that scenario, the Trump E.P.A. predicts its plan will see between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 because of increased rates of microscopic airborne particulates known as PM 2.5, which are risky because of their link to heart and lung disease as well as their ability to trigger chronic problems like asthma and bronchitis. The Affordable Clean Energy rule, or ACE, replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.
Electric utilities have been steadily retiring coal plants for economic reasons despite the stay of the Clean Power Plan, as the cost of renewables and natural gas drop. "If the administration is honest about wanting to help coal miners, they should help coal communities diversify their local economies and provide transition assistance and worker retraining", he said. "It also said the EPA can't just regulate greenhouse gases just with policy judgments that have nothing to do with the facts and nothing to do with the science".
Why are they doing this?
EPA called the Obama-era regulations on coal power plants "overly prescriptive and burdensome".
The EPA will take comment on the plan for 60 days.
The Obama administration held up the Clean Power Plan as a way to cut down global greenhouse gas emissions and make the US a leader in the fight against climate change.
The coal industry argued that expensive upgrades have led to the shutting down of power plants.
But industry statistics reveal a muted job recovery in coal, at best. Coal accounted for about half of US electricity production in 2008, but now accounts for closer to 30%, about equal to natural gas, according to MKM Partners analyst Daniel Scott.
In November 2015, a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties intervened in defense of the Clean Power Plan against the challenge in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
President Trump rolled back Obama's fuel efficiency rules earlier this month.