Trump ready to ease rules on coal-fired power plants

The plan would give states broad authority to determine how to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

By Matthew Daly / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is set to roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s efforts to slow global warming, the Clean Power Plan that restricts greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

A plan to be announced in coming days would give states broad authority to determine how to restrict carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The plan by the Environmental Protection Agency also would let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades, according to a summary of the plan and several people familiar with the full proposal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the plan publicly.

Combined with a planned rollback of car-mileage standards, the plan represents a significant retreat from Obama-era efforts to fight climate change and would reverse an Obama-era push to shift away from coal and toward less-polluting energy sources such as natural gas, wind and solar power. President Donald Trump has already vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement as he pushes to revive the coal industry.

Trump also has directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take steps to bolster struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants to keep them open, warning that impending retirements of “fuel-secure” power plants that rely on coal and nuclear power are harming the nation’s power grid and reducing its resilience.

The White House had no immediate comment on the plan, and the EPA didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday.

A three-page summary being circulated at the White House focuses on boosting efficiency at coal-fired power plants and allowing states to reduce “wasteful compliance costs” while focusing on improved environmental outcomes. Critics say focusing on improved efficiency would allow utilities to run older, dirtier power plants more often, undercutting potential environmental benefits.

The White House rejects that criticism.

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