The Trump administration’s proposed replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) will “level the playing field” for struggling coal plants, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
“This will provide more flexibility to states — Obama’s plan was more social engineering. We’re returning to the core basics of the Clean Air Act by working more cooperatively with states,” Wheeler told an audience at an event by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, according to The Hill. (RELATED: Trump Administration Creates New Rule Significantly Weakening Obama’s Clean Power Plan)
The EPA’s new plan relinquishes more regulatory authority over individual coal plants’ carbon emissions to the states. The federal government will continue to set national standards for carbon emissions, but a state can overrule and relax those standards to an extent, factoring in the age efficiency of its coal plants and the cost of improvements, Reuters reports.
Each state is required to submit a plan for improving its coal plants to the EPA under the proposed CPP replacement, called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.
“The era of top down, one-size-fits-all federal mandates is over,” Wheeler told reporters on a conference call, according to Reuters.
Democrats and environmentalists have called the proposal a sellout to industry interests and a blow to the environment. Critics also say the new rule will result in hundreds of people dying from air pollution that would otherwise not happen under the Obama plan.
California, which often leads other states in strict environmental policy, is considering suing the Trump administration to block ACE.
“We’re moving in that direction,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told Reuters. “We think that there is a strong case to be made that they are violating the very laws they are supposed to enforce.”
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