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Trump Takes Aim at Global Warming Curbs03/28 06:14

   Moving forward with a campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack 
Obama's sweeping plan to curb global warming, President Donald Trump will sign 
an executive order Tuesday that will suspend, rescind or flag for review more 
than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in 
the form of fossil fuels.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Moving forward with a campaign pledge to unravel former 
President Barack Obama's sweeping plan to curb global warming, President Donald 
Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday that will suspend, rescind or flag 
for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic 
energy production in the form of fossil fuels.

   As part of the roll-back, Trump will initiate a review of the Clean Power 
Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The 
regulation, which was the former president's signature effort to curb carbon 
emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by 
Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas.

   Trump, who has called global warming a "hoax" invented by the Chinese, has 
repeatedly criticized the power-plant rule and others as an attack on American 
workers and the struggling U.S. coal industry. The contents of the order were 
outlined to reporters in a sometimes tense briefing with a senior White House 
official, whom aides insisted speak without attribution despite President 
Trump's criticism of the use of unnamed sources in the news media.

   The official at one point appeared to break with mainstream climate science, 
denying familiarity with widely publicized concerns about the potential adverse 
economic impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more extreme 
weather.

   In addition to pulling back from the Clean Power Plan, the administration 
will also lift a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands.

   The Obama administration had imposed a three-year moratorium on new federal 
coal leases in January 2016, arguing that the $1 billion-a-year program must be 
modernized to ensure a fair financial return to taxpayers and address climate 
change.

   Trump accused his predecessor of waging a "war on coal" and boasted in a 
speech to Congress that he has made "a historic effort to massively reduce 
job-crushing regulations," including some that threaten "the future and 
livelihoods of our great coal miners."

   The order will also chip away at other regulations, including scrapping 
language on the "social cost" of greenhouse gases. It will initiate a review of 
efforts to reduce the emission of methane in oil and natural gas production as 
well as a Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracturing rule, to determine 
whether those reflect the president's policy priorities.

   It will also rescind Obama-era executive orders and memoranda, including one 
that addressed climate change and national security and one that sought to 
prepare the country for the impacts of climate change.

   The administration is still in discussion about whether it intends to 
withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. But the moves to be 
announced Tuesday will undoubtedly make it more difficult for the U.S. to 
achieve its goals.

   Trump's Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, alarmed 
environmental groups and scientists earlier this month when he said he does not 
believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. The 
statement is at odds with mainstream scientific consensus and Pruitt's own 
agency.

   The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed studies and climate scientists 
agree the planet is warming, mostly due to man-made sources, including carbon 
dioxide, methane, halocarbons and nitrogen oxide.

   The official who briefed reporters said the president does believe in 
man-made climate change.

   The power-plant rule Trump is set to address in his order has been on hold 
since last year as a federal appeals court considers a challenge by 
coal-friendly states and more than 100 companies who call the plan an 
unconstitutional power grab.

   Opponents say the plan will kill coal-mining jobs and drive up electricity 
costs. The Obama administration, some Democratic-led states and environmental 
groups countered that it would spur thousands of clean-energy jobs and help the 
U.S. meet ambitious goals to reduce carbon pollution set by the international 
agreement signed in Paris.

   Trump's order on coal-fired power plants follows an executive order he 
signed last month mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting 
small streams and wetlands from development and pollution. The order instructs 
the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review a rule that redefined "waters of 
the United States" protected under the Clean Water Act to include smaller 
creeks and wetlands.

   While Republicans have blamed Obama-era environmental regulations for the 
loss of coal jobs, federal data shows that U.S. mines have been shedding jobs 
for decades under presidents from both parties as a result of increasing 
automation and competition from cheaper natural gas. Another factor is the 
plummeting cost of solar panels and wind turbines, which now can produce 
emissions-free electricity cheaper than burning coal.

   According to an Energy Department analysis released in January, coal mining 
now accounts for fewer than 70,000 U.S. jobs. By contrast, renewable energy --- 
including wind, solar and biofuels --- now accounts for more than 650,000 U.S. 
jobs.

   The Trump administration's plans drew praise from business groups and 
condemnation from environmental groups.

   U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue praised the president 
for taking "bold steps to make regulatory relief and energy security a top 
priority."

   "These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous 
administration's strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, 
job-killing regulations that choked our economy," he said.

   Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy accused the Trump administration of 
wanting "us to travel back to when smokestacks damaged our health and polluted 
our air, instead of taking every opportunity to support clean jobs of the 
future."

   "This is not just dangerous; it's embarrassing to us and our businesses on a 
global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic 
growth, and U.S. leadership," she said in a statement.


(KA)

 
 
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