EPA Secretary Andrew Wheeler loosened Obama-era emission rules for U.S. power companies Wednesday, saying that measure was too costly. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo
June 19 (UPI) -- The Environmental Protection Agency rolled back Obama-era clean energy standards Wednesday, saying the old rules would have been too costly for low- and middle-income families while giving the coal industry a lifeline.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in signing the new Affordable Clean Energy rule the agency will demand U.S. power companies cut their carbon emissions 35 percent over 2005 levels by 2030.
"The Affordable Clean Energy rule gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide affordable energy to all Americans," Wheeler said Wednesday while introducing the new rule.
The new rule is less than half of what the Obama rule demanded. Many U.S. power companies had already cut greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent compared to 2005.
Some environmentalists and states that have already invested money under the old rule pounced. New York Attorney General Leticia James said on social media that she will file a lawsuit against the EPA.
"We intend to sue the Trump Admin's @EPA over their #DirtyPower rule. This is yet another prime example of this administration's attempt to rollback critical regulations that will have devastating impacts on both the safety and health of our nation," James said.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called the new rule "corporate welfare" to the coal industry.
"Former coal lobbyist and now EPA Administrator Wheeler doesn't understand that it is the EPA's job to protect public health and the environment, not the coal industry," Markey said in a Twitter post.
"America's energy future will not be found in the dark of a mine but in the light of the sun. Wind and solar are beating coal in the free market. Today there are 350k jobs in solar and wind and only 50k in coal mining. We don't need a dirty power scam, we need a #GreenNewDeal," Markey continued.