U.S. plan for coal power deregulation could cause more deaths

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The Trump administration's proposed regulation is going to be available for public review and comment for 60 days. But the EPA also estimates the extra pollutant from the rule could prematurely kill up to 1,400 people per year by 2030.

After wiping out plans to continue boosting fuel economy standards earlier this month, the EPA on Tuesday proposed rolling back emissions standards on electric power plants.

Trump, who is expected to tout the plan at a rally Tuesday night in West Virginia, loves what he has called "beautiful, clean coal" and has launched a widespread effort to save the energy source from disappearing from the USA energy mix.

The EPA will provide states with recommended "heat rate improvements" with the goal of making existing coal-fired power plants more efficient so they can release less carbon dioxide into the air.

The Supreme Court put Obama's plan on hold in 2016 following a legal challenge by industry and coal-friendly states, an order that remains in effect. In each case the state was successful in blocking the new rule.

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, asked in an interview whether his state would sue to block the plan, said "we're moving in that direction" but would see the administrative process through.

Meanwhile, Trump has also directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry 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 administration is skating on very thin ice with this proposal", Revesz said.

Siderewicz also said coal plants in OH are "uneconomical" anyway.

The onerous nature of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan prompted the entire MS congressional delegation in 2015 to criticize the plan as being prohibitively expensive and unattainable for Mississippi.

Coal stocks have risen since the Trump administration announced Monday that it plans to roll back Obama-era regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants that have resulted in hundreds of such facilities closing over the past few years.

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"The cost to society in increases of death and other outcomes from air pollution are greater than the cost to industry from removing the Clean Power Plan", West said. The Obama-era rules, by contrast, "would have driven up energy prices for consumers and businesses alike", Wheeler said. "We don't plan any changes", says Schuyler Baehman, a spokesman for Atlanta-based utility Southern (SO), which says it's reduced carbon emissions by 36% since 2007. Gov. Jim Justice said the rule was "a big win for West Virginia".

However, Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, said under the federal Clean Air Act, the agency can't control the entire electrical system.

If implemented, Schneider said, "the result will actually be more pollution and unnecessary loss of life - by the EPA's own reckoning about 1,000 avoidable deaths per year, while doing nothing to stem climate change".

Trump has vowed to end what Republicans call a "war on coal" waged by Obama.

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