Current U.S. President Donald Trump has recently put out a new proposal for The Clean Power Plan, a guide that was created under former president Barack Obama. The proposal underwent numerous changes, and in some cases it was radically modified, diverting what the plan originally focused on.
One of the biggest changes that occurred was related to the Clean Air Act, which in part regulated the amount of CO2 emissions legally allowed on a sector-wide basis. Trump’s new version only requires them to be regulated on a plant-specific basis, stating that enforcing the previous regulations were illegal under current law.
Under the plan’s previous restrictions and limits, in order to meet the regulations, more renewables had to be built, along with cleaner, more efficient technology. Trump’s new plan removes these limits, asserting that these regulations were also illegal to enforce.
The result of the new proposal will be a significant decrease in the effect that it would have had on reducing coal-powered plants, changing from an estimated decrease of 32 percent by 2030 to 1-2 percent by 2035, according to Forbes. This is in part due to the increasingly laidback regulations of power plants, such as annual emissions increasing and states being allotted more power and more time (four and a half years) to comply to the new standards. The Trump administration has stated that, even though emissions will increase, the overall improvement in efficiency will lower them in return.
It will likely take a while for these new standards to be implemented, but according to an article written by the Environmental Defense Fund, the new Clean Power Plan may do more harm than good. They suggest that the current limits on carbon pollution would be significantly worse under Trump’s proposal. Not only that, but a model created by the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that this new plan could be worse than not having one at all. Up to 17 states could see an increase in carbon pollution, with Maryland being the most affected at 8.7 percent. The models provided also indicate sulfur dioxide pollution and nitrogen oxide pollution increasing in 16 and 19 states respectively. They also point out that national coal generation can increase at most by 4 percent by 2030.
It is likely that, based on the models provided by the EPA, pollution may increase with the implementation of this new plan. It directly contributes to keeping coal power plants going, and as a result, a rise in coal production will introduce more pollution to numerous states. This will negatively impact the quality of air we breathe, which is the opposite of what the Clean Power Plan should be trying to accomplish.
by Jason Grioua