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EPA rolls back Obama-era coal pollution rules as Trump heads to West Virginia

As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reduci...

Posted: Aug 21, 2018 4:31 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2018 4:31 PM

As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, President Donald Trump is heading into the heart of coal country to deliver the good news.

Trump will join supporters in Charleston, West Virginia, for a political rally on Tuesday to celebrate his administration's proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants.

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The move would reverse Obama administration efforts to combat climate change and marks the fulfillment of a campaign promise at the heart of his appeal in coal-producing states like West Virginia -- an appeal embodied by Trump's 2016 campaign stops in the coal country of West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, where Trump supporters waved "Trump Digs Coal" signs and where the President-to-be donned a coal-mining helmet.

The EPA Tuesday morning formally unveiled the details of its new plan to devolve regulation of coal-fired power plants back to the states, one that is expected to give a boost to the coal industry and increase carbon emissions nationwide.

The move is expected to spark an intense legal battle, with environmental groups already readying legal challenges to the new regulations.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Tuesday argued the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan -- the policy being replaced by this week's proposal -- "exceeded the agency's legal authority" and argued the old regulations led to rising energy prices which have "hurt low and middle income Americans the most."

EPA says the rule could cut cut electricity prices by 0.2% to 0.5% around 2025.

The EPA's own analysis of the Trump administration proposal also estimated that it will lead to an increase in pollution-related illnesses, like asthma, and a rise in premature deaths.

Gina McCarthy, the Obama administration EPA chief who finalized the Clean Power Plan, called the Trump administration's proposal "just another step in industry's playbook to dismantle regulations that they find inconvenient but are absolutely essential for our public health and our kids' future."

"It's really all about playing to their base, not doing their job to protect public health," McCarthy told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Tuesday morning on "New Day." "And so, this is another one of those rules that is very long, but it actually in the end does absolutely nothing to protect public health or our kids' future."

The move is just the latest effort by the Trump administration to revive an ailing coal industry and strip climate change-fighting regulations established by the Obama administration. He previously announced plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, calling it an unfair deal for Americans.

"I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh," Trump said at the time, "not Paris."

Those moves have been rebuffed by California and a dozen other states, which have led a push to maintain high environmental standards and legally challenge the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era rules.

In a statement on Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown decried the Trump administration's latest proposal as "a declaration of war against America and all of humanity."

"It will not stand," he said. "Truth and common sense will triumph over Trump's insanity."

Trump will tout his new proposals Tuesday night in West Virginia, where Republicans are vying to wrench a hotly contested Senate seat from Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin.

Trump won the state in 2016 with 68% of the vote and is hoping his popularity will lift the Republican Senate nominee, the state's attorney general Patrick Morrisey, above his opponent.

Morrisey's office on Tuesday seized on the Trump administration's announcement, calling it a "critical step" to reverse the impact Obama administration regulations had on the coal industry.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 252475

Reported Deaths: 5521
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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