WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler signed Wednesday the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which repeals one of former President Barack Obama era’s climate change initiatives and adopts a plan that would loosen regulations on plants that rely on coal, the Associated Press reports.
The new rule establishes emission guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide at the coal-fired electric generating units, per the EPA.
The new rule, which reverses the 2015 Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan that encouraged the switch from power produced by coal to lower-carbon fuels such as natural gas, solar and wind, demands far less carbon dioxide reductions than the industry is already on track to reach, the Washington Post reported.
Wheeler said during a news conference that “fossil fuels will continue to be an important part of the mix.”
The U.S. power sector would be required to cut its 2030 carbon emissions 35 percent compared to 2005 levels, or less than half the reduction needed to curb catastrophic global warming. As of last year, greenhouse gas emissions had been reduced 27 percent compared with 2005.
“The Trump administration’s outrageous Dirty Power Scam is a stunning giveaway to big polluters, giving dirty special interests the greenlight to choke our skies, poison our waters and worsen the climate crisis,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.