The Trump administration plans to announce a massive rollback of the Obama-era “Clean Power Plan” that placed strict limits on carbon emissions for coal-fired power plants, placing the power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions back in the hands of the states – and the free market.
The new rule, which Trump will reportedly announce Tuesday night at an event in Charleston, West Virginia, will save the energy industry about $400 million a year in compliance costs, according to the EPA. The Affordable Clean Energy plan will also remove much of the pressure from an already besieged coal industry that for years struggled to meet the Obama EPA's requirements.
The Trump administration says it still expects carbon emissions to decline as natural gas and renewable resources take the place of coal. However, the new rule, will enable these trends to happen on the market’s terms, not the government’s.
Though still on the government books, Obama’s Clean Power Plan was never actually implemented, having been stalled by the Supreme Court after more than 20 states sued the administration for an unconstitutional overreach of power.
While naysayers of Trump’s pro-coal move claim the new rule will contribute to greater man-made climate change, the United States still leads the world in cutting its carbon emissions – even without Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and even after pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords.
According to Forbes, “since 2005 annual U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined by 758 million metric tons. That is by far the largest decline of any country in the world over that timespan and is nearly as large as the 770 million metric ton decline for the entire European Union.”
A June report from BP found that between 2016 and 2017,the United States reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 41.8 million tons, more than double the next closest nation in the study.
The new rule fulfills yet another of Trump's campaign promises to lift regulations on the struggling coal industry and move toward American energy independence utilizing an all-of-the-above approach to energy.