"The era of top-down, one-size-fits-all federal mandates is over", said EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, in a phone call with reporters. In contrast, the Clean Power Plan would have been well on its way by now toward its goals of saving lives, driving the growth of affordable clean energy like wind and solar, and meeting America's worldwide commitments to fight climate change.
A technical analysis released by the EPA suggests that the new plan would decrease carbon dioxide emissions by no more than 2% compared to doing nothing. "Climate change is real", McCarthy said in a statement.
EPA officials said they could give no firm projections for the health effects of their plan because that will depend on how states regulate power plants within their borders.
But buried deep in the EPA's new 289-page "Regulatory Impact Analysis", are tables that make clear that Trump's new plan will kill tens of thousands of Americans and make millions sicker in the coming decades.
The EPA called the Obama-era regulations on coal power plants "overly prescriptive and burdensome".
Industry officials praised the move.
The mere fact that President Trump is unveiling his new environmental policy at a rally in West Virginia tells you a lot about the nature of his plans: They're coal-friendly and minimally sensitive to the reality of climate change. He made no direct mention of the EPA's announcement in the morning but ended a tweet about his upcoming trip by exclaiming, "CLEAN COAL!". "Climate change is real, no matter how much this administration tries to deny it", Baraba Underwood, New York State's Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement.
"Once again, this administration is choosing polluters' profits over public health and safety", he said.
Scientists said that without extensive study they can not directly link a single weather event to climate change, but climate change is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme events such as storms, droughts, floods and wildfires.
Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of MS predicted the president's proposal should protect her constituents from threatened power plant closings and electricity rate hikes.
"The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans", he said.
The rule also could allow power plant owners to sidestep costly permits for those improvements. Despite the best efforts of Trump, Wheeler, and their pals in the fossil fuel industry, clean energy is winning nationwide and helping to reduce the pollution that harms our families, our climate, our air, and our water.
The rollback of the Clean Power Plan is part of a broader repeal of federal regulations by the Trump administration laid out in a March Executive Order, which directed agencies to "immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind" them. Today, about a third of US electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants, down from more than half at the turn of the century.
The proposal is dubbed the Orwellian "Affordable Clean Energy" rule. Several coal-producing states, including Texas and West Virginia, led a group of industry stakeholders to ask the Supreme Court to stay the CPP in January 2016 pending an appeals court's ruling. Coal companies continue to retire coal plants at the same rate under Trump as they did under his predecessor - about one every 16 days - in red and blue states alike. In his inaugural State of the Union address, the president declared an end to the "war on clean coal".
The attorneys general of Virginia and NY quickly criticized the EPA announcement and said they would sue to block the rule if it becomes law.
"We agree with those policymakers who have become increasingly concerned that coal retirements are a threat to grid resilience and national security", she said.