California leads 19 states in opposing Trump’s roll-back of climate rules for new coal plants

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led 19 states on Tuesday in opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s roll-back of Obama-era emission rules for new coal plants, referred to as a “defacto ban” on building new coal-fired power plants.

The state AGs asked EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately withdraw the administration’s proposed roll-back of the regulation in joint comments, laying out a legal argument for why the administration’s actions are “arbitrary and capricious.”

The Trump administration is re-writing the rules to allow new coal plants to be be built without expensive carbon capture technologies to reduce greenhouse house gases blamed for causing global warming.

The AGs argue that EPA’s proposal would allow a new coal plant to emit 35 percent more carbon than possible under current law, even after EPA determined in 2015 that new plants are able to meet the current standard by using carbon capture technologies.

“The scientific community has given us a clear message to reduce emissions or face dire consequences,” said Becerra in a statement. “Yet, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler buries his head in the sand when confronted with this irrefutable scientific evidence.”

The emissions “backsliding” that the coal rule would cause “threatens progress” on climate change, where states like California can’t afford to reverse course, he added. “We can’t afford to ignore the wildfires, storms, floods, droughts, and suffocating air pollution. EPA must stop ignoring the facts and science and withdraw this reckless proposal,” Becerra said.