Trump Heads To The Heart Of Coal Country As EPA Dismantles Obama-Era Climate Rules

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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President Donald Trump will head to West Virginia for a rally Tuesday night where he’s sure to tout his administration’s rolling back of a major Obama-era regulation seen as part of the “war on coal.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday it would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) with a more lenient rule that officials expect to keep more coal plants and mines open. Expect Trump to tout this new proposal in West Virginia.

Trump’s rally is meant to support West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s campaign against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who Republicans see as vulnerable in the upcoming election.

“Patrick Morrisey is running a GREAT race for U.S. Senate. I have done so much for West Virginia, against all odds, and having Patrick, a real fighter, by my side, would make things so much easier,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

The Obama administration imposed the CPP in 2015, requiring states to come up with plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. EPA expected the CPP to cut emissions 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. (RELATED: New Trump Nominee Could Mean Everything For Struggling Coal Plants)

The CPP was expected to exacerbate the trend of coal plant closures, forcing more plants to shut down and less coal to be mined. However, even without the CPP, coal plants will likely continue to struggle to stay open.

Both Manchin and Morrisey opposed the CPP, but Morrisey helped lead a group of 27 states in suing to have the Obama-era regulation overturned. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay against the CPP in early 2016, meaning it never went into effect.

Morrisey said EPA’s proposal to replace the CPP, called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, embraced his “call to adopt a more individualized approach to rulemaking with respect for the rule of law and the important role of the states,” according to a press release.

Manchin, however, maintains a healthy lead over Morrisey in the polls, despite Trump overwhelmingly carrying the state in 2016.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls puts Manchin up 7 percentage points.

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