Energy

Trump Rolls Back Obama's Anti-Coal Regs

The EPA is set to end the Clean Power Plan's onerous regulations on coal-power plants.

Thomas Gallatin · Aug. 21, 2018

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency will follow through on one of President Donald Trump’s major campaign promises in announcing plans for rolling back Barack Obama’s coal-killing environmental regulations on power-plant emissions. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The new plan … recommends a menu of upgrades designed to let coal-fired plants produce energy with less fuel and seeks to eliminate triggers that mandate costly technological overhauls at coal plants. While the Clean Power Plan was designed to reduce greenhouse gases and fight the cause of climate change, the Trump administration cast the regulation as setting unfair rules that coal plants wouldn’t be able to meet.” As EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler explained, “The entire Obama administration plan was centered around doing away with coal.” Trump’s administration is correct about Obama’s power grab.

The news was welcomed by Hal Quinn, president and chief executive of the National Mining Association, who noted that Obama’s Clean Power Plan “was a major impediment for our industry going forward in terms of what our markets look like.” Quinn added that the EPA’s action today “removes that pressure.”

The EPA noted that the decrease in coal-powered plants has created “tremendous strain on the power infrastructure even without the added pressures of an EPA mandate to further shift away from additional coal-fired generation.” The Trump administration argues that coal is an important fuel source and that its continuing decline threatens the electricity supply to the nation’s businesses and consumers.

The EPA’s plan would scrap most of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, leaving the authority for determining power-plant regulations up to individual states. The EPA will also deemphasize the Obama-era obsession over climate change, instead focusing on balancing concerns for both the environment and the economic importance of thriving industry.

Environmental groups and leftists were quick to cry foul, insisting Trump’s actions are illegal and will endanger the environment. There is little doubt that the courts will be heavily involved going forward. But, for now at least, Trump is delivering yet another win for American industry and energy.

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