WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The Trump Administration announced a rule change loosening emission standards for coal power plants. It faces stiff opposition and some states like New York are already threatening lawsuits.
Coal miners and coal labor union officials were in the audience when Environmental Protection Agency Chief Andrew Wheeler announced the end of the Obama-era clean power plan.
“We are gathered here today to deliver on one of President Trump’s core priorities,” Wheeler said.
The change rolls back federal standards for coal-fired power generating plants and allows each state to est its own standards subject to EPA approval.
“…to continue to reduce emissions and provide affordable reliable energy for all Americans,” Wheeler said.
Democratic lawmakers say the EPA’s action won’t save the coal industry but it will be devastating to the environment.
“It’s neither affordable nor clean,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY said. “It’s a huge step backward in the decades-long effort to protect our planet.”
While the Obama Administration’s clean power plan has been died up by lawsuits, Democrats say it still encouraged the coal industry to clean up its act.
Sen. Ed Markey said the Trump Administration’s action does the opposite.
“Instead of writing an invitation to clean energy producers, President Trump has written a love letter to King Coal,” Markey said.
Democrats also said pollution from states that set weak standards will blow across state lines and damage the health of citizens in neighboring states. It’s unclear whether Democratic lawmakers have the power to do much to fight the rule change.