Trump's 'Immoral' Plan to Allow Coal States to Self-Regulate Could Send 365 Million Tons of Carbon Into Atmosphere
"Yet another reminder that this administration values polluter profits over Americans' basic right to clean air."
Weeks after President Donald Trump moved to keep California from applying its own stringent regulations to auto emissions, White House officials indicated that the president would soon unveil a plan to give several other states the right to self-regulate regarding pollution—but the states in question this time are coal producers, and Trump's proposal is likely to cause an explosion in emission rates as well as a worsening of the climate crisis.
At a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday, Trump is expected to unveil a plan to allow states to determine whether they'll regulate coal plant emissions, and if so, how.
"Emissions are going to go up, and I don't mean from where they would have been under the Clean Power Plan, but relative to the trends now," Conrad Schneider, advocacy director for the Clean Air Task Force, told the New York Times. "This is to put the thumb on the scales and bring coal back."
The Environmental Protection Agency estimated in a 300-page analysis that the plan would affect about 300 coal plants, likely keeping them in operation and going against the will of 65 percent of Americans who, according to Pew Research, say the development of renewable energy should take precedence over fossil fuels.
The plan could release about 365 million metric tons of carbon into atmosphere which would have otherwise been prevented from being released under President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, according to the Washington Post.
Under Trump's proposal, wrote Juliet Eilperin at the Post, carbon emissions will be reduced by just 1.5 percent—at the most—from 2005 levels by 2030, compared with the 19 percent reduction that was expected with the Clean Power Plan.
"These numbers tell the story, that they really remain committed not to do anything to address greenhouse gas emissions," Joseph Goffman, who worked in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation between 2009 and 2017 and helped write the Clean Power Plan, told the Post. "They show not merely indifference to climate change, but really, opposition to doing anything about climate change."
The proposal is expected to fully de-fang the Obama administration's regulation, which is currently suspended due to the lawsuit several coal-producing states filed to block the rule.
Climate action groups over the weekend were bracing for Trump's announcement of the disastrous proposal.