Trump EPA acts to roll back control on climate-changing coal
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency moved Tuesday to further ease rules on the sagging U.S. coal industry, this time scaling back what would have been a tough control on climate-changing emissions from any new coal plants.
The latest Trump administration targeting of legacy Obama administration efforts to slow climate change comes in the wake of multiplying warnings from the agency's scientists and others about the accelerating toll of global warming.
In a ceremony at the agency, acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a proposal to dismantle a 2015 rule that any new coal power plants include cutting-edge techniques to cap the carbon dioxide from their smokestacks.
Wheeler called the Obama rules "excessive burdens" for the coal industry.
"This administration cares about action and results, not talks and wishful thinking," Wheeler said.
Asked about the harm coal plant emission do people and the environment, Wheeler responded, "Having cheap electricity helps human health."
Janet McCabe, an EPA air official under the Obama administration, challenged that in a statement today, citing the conclusion of the EPA's own staff earlier this year that pending rollbacks on existing coal plants would cause thousands of early deaths from the fine soot and dangerous particles and gases.
The EPA was "turning its back on its responsibility to protect human health," McCabe said.
Environmentalists, scientists and lawmakers were scathing about the new proposal, saying the Trump administration was undermining what they said should be urgent efforts to slow climate change.