U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday unveiled its plan to dramatically weaken pollution limits on coal-fired power plants by shifting most of the regulatory burden to states in a further assault on the Obama climate legacy.
"The entire Obama administration plan was centered around doing away with coal", Wheeler told the Journal in an interview.
"If the Trump administration's proposal to dismantle the Clean Power Plan is adopted, we will work with our state and local partners to file suit to block it", Underwood said, "in order to protect New Yorkers, and all Americans, from the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change".
Since 2010, power plant owners have either retired or announced plans to retire 630 coal-fired facilities in 43 states - almost 40 per cent of the USA coal fleet, according to data by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a trade group representing utilities such as Southern Co. and producers such as Peabody Energy Corp.
The suggested pollution standards for power plants, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule, are expected to cut retail electricity prices by just 0.2% to 0.5% by 2025, compared to the levels if President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan had gone into full effect.
What does this mean for climate change? Officials pointed to the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the Clean Power Plan in response to a lawsuit arguing that the EPA had over extended itself.
The EPA estimates that the ACE rule could reduce 2030 Carbon dioxide emission by up to 1.5 percent from projected levels without the CPP, which amounts to taking 5.3 million cars off the road.
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Duke Energy's most recent sustainability report outlines a goal of cutting its coal- and oil-fired power from 61 percent in 2005 to 33 percent in 2017 and 16 percent in 2030.
Environmental groups say it will harm the fight against global warming.
The new EPA policy has no national emissions reduction target and barely mentions climate change.
'The Obama administration waged a war on American energy with devastating consequences for workers and manufacturers, ' the Wisconsin Republican said.
"Once again, this administration is choosing polluters" profits over public health and safety, ' he said.
The agency estimates that the power sector's greenhouse gas emissions would continue to decline in coming years, but nearly entirely as a result of market pressures.
Trump has already vowed to pull the USA out of the Paris climate agreement as he pushes to revive the coal industry.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the document that is already facing pushback from environmental groups. The rule dictated specific emission targets for states based on power-plant emissions and gave officials broad latitude to decide how to achieve reductions. Although the Trump administration forecasts a 4.5 percent to 5.8 percent increase in the production of coal for generating electricity under its proposal, analysts say the shift is unlikely to reverse a spate of already announced closures of coal-fired power plants.