New EPA coal rules could lead to 1,400 more deaths per year

Michele Stevens
August 24, 2018

For the sake of stretching out the lifespan of some aging coal-fired power plants and propping up the declining coal industry, the Trump plan misses out on the health benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 19 percent, sulfur oxides by 24 percent, nitrogen oxides by 22 percent, and mercury by 16 percent. Under the new proposal, states would have the authority to craft their own plans for how to reduce emissions at the power plant level, largely by striving to make plants more efficient with heat rate improvements.

Unlike Trump's recent rollback of fuel efficiency rules, the new coal standards do not appear to try to take regulatory authority away from states that have been tougher on coal.

The EPA says price of electricity is expected to drop by a half a percent at the most by 2025 under the new rule.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule is created to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

The EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will instead hold two public hearings on the proposal, known as the SAFE Vehicles Rule, in Pittsburgh and Fresno, Calif. on September 21 and 24 respectively. And the CPP not only reduced carbon emissions behind climate change, it would have led to big cuts in pollutants that harm health, including particulates, nitrogen oxides and mercury, all of which come from coal-fired power plants. And with child hospitalizations from asthma here nearly double the state's overall rate, it stands to reason S.A. would experience more than its share of both.

The president trumpeted the plan at a rally late Tuesday in the coal-producing state of West Virginia.

While Wheeler says this proposal is less aggressive than the Obama plan, he argues it's still going to help the environment.


Jason Bohrer, president and CEO of the Lignite Energy Council, praised the rule and predicted it would accomplish "the goals that both the Obama administration set and those folks who are concerned about climate change want to achieve".

"The fingerprints of the coal industry are all over this plan", Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

"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".

"At exactly the time we should be sending a comprehensive signal for clean energy, we're totally squelching that signal", he added. It would mean more climate-changing pollution from power plants.

Even so, the Obama plan has been a factor in the wave of retirements of coal-fired plants, which also are being squeezed by lower costs for natural gas and renewable power and state mandates that promote energy conservation.

One of the reasons the Clean Power Plan was put in place was to reduce coal emissions by power plants, as an effort to reduce pollution. The Trump Administration has criticized the CPP as "overly prescriptive and burdensome" and has, at times, discussed an outright repeal of the rule. According to Wheeler, ACE would allow "the states and regulated community the certainty they need to continue environmental progress while fulfilling President Trump's goal of energy dominance".

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