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Booleansplit / Flickr, CC BY-NC

Coal Is Going Down, Even Without the Clean Power Plan

By Elliott Negin

Last Monday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he will repeal the Obama administration's regulation to curb power plant carbon emissions, telling coal miners in Kentucky that "the war on coal is over." The next day he kept his promise, issuing a proposed rule to eliminate the Clean Power Plan.

It was hardly a surprise. After all, President Trump has called climate change a "hoax" and vowed during his campaign to bring back coal jobs, which is why Pruitt made his preliminary announcement in Kentucky, where workers have a direct economic stake.

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Bloomberg Donates $64 Million to Shut Down Coal Power Plants

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's charity will give $64 million to help accelerate the retirement of coal plants in the U.S., Bloomberg announced yesterday following the Trump administration's move to kill the Clean Power Plan.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has already given $110 million to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, which aims to help shutter two-thirds of U.S. coal-fired power plants by 2020. Despite Scott Pruitt's proclamation earlier this week that the CPP rollback means the "war on coal is over," market forces don't seem to have gotten the memo.

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Energy

New Mexico's Largest Utility Will Stop Burning Coal, Despite Trump's Clean Power Plan Rollback

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt announced Monday that the Trump administration is rolling back the Clean Power Plan to end the previous administration's "war on coal" but there's a big problem: Obama didn't kill the coal industry—the market for cheap natural gas and increasingly affordable renewable energy did.

Case in point, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that New Mexico's largest utility still plans to phase out coal as a power source in 2031. The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) currently uses coal for 56 percent of its energy generation but wants drop use to 12 percent by 2025.

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Irma Omerhodzic

Michael Brune: Trump's War on Clean Energy

For Donald Trump, people seem to belong in one of four categories: family, assets, enemies or irrelevant. Most of the American public has been consigned to the last category. That's why you'll never catch this president rhapsodizing about the honor of public service. The sole basis, apparently, for any decision Donald Trump makes is whether he believes it will help Donald Trump. The concept of public welfare—including whether people live or die—simply isn't part of his calculus.

That was reinforced Wednesday as Trump announced that his asset at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, will replace the Clean Power Plan. Carefully developed during the Obama administration as a way to limit carbon pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan is a centerpiece of our nation's climate policy. Pruitt, though, claims that because the plan demands clean air, it is effectively picking winners and losers in the energy market. After all, if the goal is clean air, then dirty fuels can't compete because they're, well, dirty.

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Trump Watch

Trump EPA 'Cooks the Books' to Hide Benefits of Clean Power Plan

It appears that the Trump administration has seriously underestimated the costly toll of climate change in its efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) based on a new document released Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The 198-page proposed analysis shows the supposed costs and benefits of undoing the Obama-era climate policy. However, as the Washington Post reported, the document shows that the Scott Pruitt-led EPA puts the cost of one ton of emissions of carbon dioxide between $1 and $6 in the year 2020—a dramatic decrease of the previous administration's 2020 estimate of $45.

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EPA chief Scott Pruitt. The White House/Flickr

It's Official: Trump Administration to Repeal Clean Power Plan

The Trump administration will scrap the Clean Power Plan (CPP), President Obama's signature environmental policy aimed at fighting climate change, confirming earlier reports of such a move.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said at an event in Kentucky he will sign a proposed rule on Tuesday "to withdraw the so-called clean power plan of the past administration."

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Across the Ohio River from Powhatan Transportation Center—owned by Murray Energy—is a power plant servicing coal mines. Jessica Cheung/NPR

Trump Nominates Coal Lobbyist for Number Two EPA Job

The White House announced Thursday that President Trump has officially nominated coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler for the deputy administrator position at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Before becoming a lobbyist in 2009, Wheeler served as a congressional aide to prominent climate-denying (and snowball-tossing) Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). While Politico reported on Wheeler's likely nomination in March, Wheeler remained registered as a lobbyist for coal company Murray Energy until mid-August.

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Closed coal mine in Boone County, West Virginia. WVPB/ Janet Kunicki

Coal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life, But Tech and Government Jobs Could

It was supposed to be all about jobs. When the president announced his intent to abandon the Clean Power Plan this spring and then withdraw from the Paris agreement this summer, one of the biggest reasons cited was to protect the coal jobs sustaining communities in places like Appalachia.

There's just one problem. Whatever the White House says, coal jobs are in a terminal decline and whatever cynics claim, it's not some cabal of heartless environmentalists to blame. It's the power industry itself, driven by advances in technology and simple market forces.

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Climate
Walter/ Flickr

Trump EPA Takes First Step to Gut Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took its first formal step to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), former President Obama's signature climate change policy to clean up carbon pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants—and a major target of President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's regulatory rollbacks.

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