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Coalition of 24 US states calls for Trump to scrap key Obama climate change and anti-coal law

20 December 2016

Senior officials in 24 states have urged US President-elect Donald Trump to kill the central element of President Barack Obama's strategy to combat climate change and shut down coal-fired power plants. The coalition has asked the incoming Republican government to scrap the Clean Power Plan enacted by the current Democratic administration. 

US coal mine - Image: EPA
US coal mine - Image: EPA

The CPP law was designed to lower carbon emissions mainly from coal-fired power plants by 2030 to 32% below 2005 levels. The Supreme Court has ordered a delay in implementation until legal challenges to the regulation are completed.

The group, headed by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, suggests Congress take action to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from drafting similar regulations in the future.

This comes as the US Interior Department has finalised a rule to protect waterways from harmful coal mining practices.

The Stream Protection rule requires companies to avoid mining activities that could pollute streams and drinking water sources, restore streams, and promise to return mined areas to their original form. The Interior Department says the rule will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests over the next two decades.

Industry groups such as the National Mining Association have been vocal opponents of the proposal, saying it places too much of a burden on mining companies and are lobbying the incoming Trump administration to reverse this rule as well.

Trump's potential Cabinet has a number of nominees from top fossil fuel-producing states. He put forward Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, an ardent opponent of Obama's measures to curb climate change, to run the Environmental Protection Agency and Rick Perry, a climate sceptic and former governor of Texas, to head the Department of Energy.

Trump has promised to revive oil and gas drilling and coal mining by cutting back on federal regulations. He also has said he would pull the United States out of a global deal to curb emissions of carbon dioxide, which a majority of scientists say contribute to changes to the climate that are leading to sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms.


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