US government loosens restrictions on coal emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a new plan on August 21 that will overhaul existing regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule) hands states the “authority to determine how to restrict carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.” (Fox News)

“The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans,” EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement (EPA press release).

The agency said the new rule replaces “the prior administration’s overly prescriptive and burdensome Clean Power Plan.”

“Climate-conscious states like California already are mobilizing to fight” the new plan, reported The Los Angeles Times. It said the new looser regulation are a “boon to the coal industry, laying the groundwork for a revival of the most polluting facilities and abandoning Obama-era mandates for reorienting the electricity sector toward clean energy.”

Other U.S. government plans to relax environmental restrictions

• On August 2, the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department released a proposal to freeze antipollution and fuel-efficiency standards for cars, “significantly weakening one of President Barack Obama’s signature policies to combat global warming.” (The New York Times)

Efforts by U.S. states to comply with Paris climate accords despite federal government opposition

• In June 2017, “dozens of states and cities across the country” (The Los Angeles Times) promised to fulfill the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate agreement even without compliance from Washington. Is that effort succeeding?

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