EPA rolls back Obama-era coal pollution rules as Trump heads to West Virginia

As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reduci...

Posted: Aug 21, 2018 5:31 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2018 5:31 PM

As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, President Donald Trump is heading into the heart of coal country to deliver the good news.

Trump will join supporters in Charleston, West Virginia, for a political rally on Tuesday to celebrate his administration's proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants.

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The move would reverse Obama administration efforts to combat climate change and marks the fulfillment of a campaign promise at the heart of his appeal in coal-producing states like West Virginia -- an appeal embodied by Trump's 2016 campaign stops in the coal country of West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, where Trump supporters waved "Trump Digs Coal" signs and where the President-to-be donned a coal-mining helmet.

The EPA Tuesday morning formally unveiled the details of its new plan to devolve regulation of coal-fired power plants back to the states, one that is expected to give a boost to the coal industry and increase carbon emissions nationwide.

The move is expected to spark an intense legal battle, with environmental groups already readying legal challenges to the new regulations.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Tuesday argued the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan -- the policy being replaced by this week's proposal -- "exceeded the agency's legal authority" and argued the old regulations led to rising energy prices which have "hurt low and middle income Americans the most."

EPA says the rule could cut cut electricity prices by 0.2% to 0.5% around 2025.

The EPA's own analysis of the Trump administration proposal also estimated that it will lead to an increase in pollution-related illnesses, like asthma, and a rise in premature deaths.

Gina McCarthy, the Obama administration EPA chief who finalized the Clean Power Plan, called the Trump administration's proposal "just another step in industry's playbook to dismantle regulations that they find inconvenient but are absolutely essential for our public health and our kids' future."

"It's really all about playing to their base, not doing their job to protect public health," McCarthy told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Tuesday morning on "New Day." "And so, this is another one of those rules that is very long, but it actually in the end does absolutely nothing to protect public health or our kids' future."

The move is just the latest effort by the Trump administration to revive an ailing coal industry and strip climate change-fighting regulations established by the Obama administration. He previously announced plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, calling it an unfair deal for Americans.

"I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh," Trump said at the time, "not Paris."

Those moves have been rebuffed by California and a dozen other states, which have led a push to maintain high environmental standards and legally challenge the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era rules.

In a statement on Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown decried the Trump administration's latest proposal as "a declaration of war against America and all of humanity."

"It will not stand," he said. "Truth and common sense will triumph over Trump's insanity."

Trump will tout his new proposals Tuesday night in West Virginia, where Republicans are vying to wrench a hotly contested Senate seat from Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin.

Trump won the state in 2016 with 68% of the vote and is hoping his popularity will lift the Republican Senate nominee, the state's attorney general Patrick Morrisey, above his opponent.

Morrisey's office on Tuesday seized on the Trump administration's announcement, calling it a "critical step" to reverse the impact Obama administration regulations had on the coal industry.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 13148
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion953091706
Lake50868931
Allen38607670
Hamilton34028404
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Elkhart26868431
Vanderburgh21948393
Tippecanoe21483212
Johnson17346371
Porter17059297
Hendricks16638309
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Madison12239335
Vigo12109243
Monroe11253166
LaPorte10639204
Delaware10251183
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Warrick7660155
Floyd7509175
Wayne6849196
Grant6732167
Boone648199
Morgan6341137
Dubois6054117
Marshall5720108
Cass5658102
Dearborn565275
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Jackson489869
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Gibson425788
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Ohio55411
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1039455

Reported Deaths: 18827
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1205361345
Cuyahoga1051802040
Hamilton774991164
Montgomery49566984
Summit44613904
Lucas39235757
Butler37466566
Stark31150890
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Mahoning20653581
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Clermont19325226
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Fairfield15520195
Trumbull15412458
Medina14693255
Greene14510233
Clark13455287
Wood12575182
Portage12183193
Allen11225229
Richland10924197
Miami10470211
Muskingum8653127
Columbiana8482225
Wayne8463209
Pickaway8394120
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Marion8302135
Erie7434153
Ross6650145
Hancock6608123
Geauga6462146
Ashtabula6374163
Scioto625699
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Union551747
Lawrence5439102
Huron5237112
Darke5229121
Jefferson5223147
Sandusky5096118
Seneca5050118
Washington5031107
Athens494854
Auglaize470684
Mercer467984
Shelby453489
Knox4339108
Madison417957
Putnam417698
Ashland409186
Fulton402565
Defiance396396
Brown383955
Crawford3827100
Logan370076
Preble368295
Clinton357459
Ottawa352278
Highland345058
Williams318274
Champaign317355
Jackson305051
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Fayette276348
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Henry261866
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Coshocton256057
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Gallia232146
Pike231031
Adams226251
Wyandot224553
Hocking207057
Carroll187846
Paulding167638
Meigs140938
Noble131837
Monroe128541
Morgan105822
Harrison104836
Vinton81013
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Rain showers taper off throughout Sunday evening. Temperatures overnight will drop into the mid to low 40s. Monday, expect more clouds in the morning, with a littler clearer sky in the afternoon. Isolated rain showers possible on Monday. Highs around 60 on Monday.
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