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Trump’s EPA To Remove Limits On Carbon Emissions, Admits It Will Cause Thousands Of Deaths

President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday rolled back an Obama-era rule that limits coal-fired power plant emissions, despite the fact that the agency itself says could result in thousands of more premature deaths by 2030 than the Obama-era plan it will replace.

The move is another blow to President Obama’s legacy and fulfills part of President Donald Trump’s promise to help the coal industry, regardless of the consequences.

As noted by CNN, the Obama plan would have prevented 3,600 premature deaths a year, 1,700 heart attacks and 90,000 asthma attacks, according to analysis conducted by the EPA under his tenure.

The Obama Clean Power Plan was set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to the climate crisis, by up to 32% compared to 2005 levels by the same year.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan was challenged by several lawsuits from industry groups and conservative-led states. The new plan, which EPA is calling the Affordable Clean Energy rule, is designed to boost the struggling coal industry but will also increase carbon emissions nationwide.

“The Affordable Clean Energy rule — ACE — gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to provide affordable and reliable energy for all Americans,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday.

But it’s unclear how much the industry can benefit, as it faces competition from cheap natural gas and renewable sources. US coal consumption has plunged 39% to the lowest level in 40 years, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said her state and others will go to court.

“Given its clear violation of the Clean Air Act, I intend to sue the EPA over this “Dirty Power” rule and look forward to collaborating with other states and cities in taking action to protect all Americans from the increasingly disastrous impacts of climate change,” James said in a statement, according to CNN.

“Connecticut is in close coordination with states across the nation and we are prepared to take legal action to block this measure,” the state’s attorney general, William Tong. “There is no serious debate — climate change is a severe threat and we ignore science at our own peril.”

At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing last week about the direction of the EPA, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy — who finalized the Clean Power Plan under Obama — said she believes the proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule, as well as other proposed rules the agency has made since Trump took office, undermines “the science and the law in how they’re trying to roll back those rules.”

“I do not dispute any administration coming in with different policies, but the challenge I think we’re facing is they are really changing the rules of the road and not using sound science,” McCarthy said. “They are not looking at cost benefits. They are trying to inflate the cost and lower the benefits in order to justify rules that simply don’t make sense under the law.”

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