Trump EPA offers weakened CO2 rule replacement

The Trump administration released a plan today to regulate carbon dioxide emissions at power plants, undercutting a much broader effort by former President Obama to slash planet-warming gases.

The EPA proposal would give states wide latitude for determining how to cut greenhouse gases from the power sector, a key contributor in the U.S. to climate change. The proposed rule is far narrower than the Obama plan, which sought to cut emissions across the power sector rather than only at individual plants.

On the campaign trail in 2016, President Trump promised to repeal Obama's rule, called the Clean Power Plan. His administration stopped short of that today and is instead offering a weakened alternative to avoid a potentially damaging defeat in court.

The move could satisfy a number of electric utilities that urged the administration to establish relaxed climate regulations rather than jettison them altogether.

Under the Trump plan, EPA aims to make power plants more efficient to meet emissions goals. It would allow the facilities to make upgrades without triggering requirements under New Source Review. That regulatory program requires facilities to undergo additional permitting and add pollution controls when upgrades would create significantly more emissions.

Democratic state attorneys general and environmental groups are sure to sue the Trump administration over the proposal, on the grounds that it doesn't adequately address greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal.

The legal limbo could stall the regulations from taking effect.

The plan will be open for public comment, and EPA said it plans to issue a final rule early next year. Once it is finalized, states would have three years to submit a compliance plan. EPA would have one year to approve or deny those state blueprints; if a state failed to submit an adequate plan, EPA would impose a federal option within two years.

Click here to read the proposed rule.

Click here for EPA's fact sheet.

Click here for more details from EPA's website.

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