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Trump's coal power plan to roll back Obama's emissions cut goal

In this July 27, 2018 photo, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday proposed rolling back restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from the country's coal-fired power plants, replacing an emissions reduction goal advocated by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" by allowing U.S. states to craft effective measures to limit emissions at power plants and removing what Trump called "ridiculous rules and regulations which are killing our companies, our states and our jobs."

But the Trump plan contains no emissions reduction target, in comparison to Obama's Clean Power Plan that called for cutting emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Speaking at a rally in West Virginia, Trump said the new plan "will help our coal-fired power plants and save consumers -- you, me, everybody -- billions and billions of dollars."

Separately, the EPA said, "The ACE Rule replaced the prior administration's overly prescriptive and burdensome Clean Power Plan and instead empowers states, promotes energy independence, and facilitates economic growth and job creation."

The agency forecast that replacing the CPP with the new plan could provide $400 million in annual net benefits.

It presented scenarios suggesting that when states have fully implemented the proposal, U.S. power sector CO2 emissions could drop 33 percent to 34 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, achieving greater emission reductions than those projected from the CPP.

Democrats and environmentalists condemned the Trump plan, saying it backs the fossil fuel industry at the expense of the health of the American public and the planet.

"This egregious climate denial plan fails to protect the American people from the serious risks of climate change, fails to produce the same health and energy saving benefits that were achieved under the Clean Power Plan, and could send clean energy jobs to China," said Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

"Only in President Trump's world could good policy mean ignoring the threats of climate change, increasing consumer energy costs, sending jobs overseas, and threatening the lives of our country's most vulnerable citizens," Carper said in a statement.

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