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Greenhouse Gases

EPA proposes industry-backed Affordable Clean Energy plan

by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN
August 26, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 34


Photo showing a power plant and its reflection in a river.
Credit: Western Farmers Electric Cooperative
The proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule would affect coal-fired-power-generating facilities such as the Hugo plant in Oklahoma.

The U.S. EPA has taken the first step to eliminate the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that was intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution from coal-fired electricity-generating utilities. The Trump administration’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule would allow industry and states to decide on efficiency improvements to reduce emissions. Under the Clean Power Plan, emissions reductions were negotiated by states and EPA. The Affordable Clean Energy proposal would also aid coal-based utilities by curbing the authority of the so-called new source review process that currently requires utilities to reduce overall emissions when making operating improvements at old power plants. Coal-based utilities strongly opposed the Clean Power Plan and new source review. Several states and health advocates oppose the new proposal and cite previous EPA studies that suggest the approach could lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030. EPA will accept comments on the new proposal for 60 days.


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