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Maryland AG Vigorously Opposes Clean Power Plan Replacement

Energy production is a major source of climate-altering greenhouse gases, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. (Amanda Eason/Twenty20)
Energy production is a major source of climate-altering greenhouse gases, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. (Amanda Eason/Twenty20)
August 22, 2018

BALTIMORE – Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh thinks the Trump administration's plans to scale back restrictions on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants would be disastrous for the country, and he says the state will fight back.

The Environmental Protection Agency released details of its plan Tuesday to replace President Barack Obama's signature climate-change policy, the Clean Power Plan, which shifted the power sector away from coal and toward renewable energy to cut carbon emissions from power plants by about one-third by 2030.

In a White House statement, President Donald Trump said they're ending "the intrusive EPA regulations that kill jobs," but Frosh said the new plan would kill people instead.

"Scientists have determined that at least 1,400 preventable deaths a year will be caused by this plan, and there is no science underneath it," he said. "They literally cooked the books so they could allow the power plants to continue to cook the planet."

The long-anticipated proposal, called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, would give states authority to make their own plans for regulating emissions from coal plants. There's a 60-day public comment period before it can be adopted.

Frosh is part of a coalition defending the Clean Power Plan that is led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood. Frosh said he sees the administration as abdicating its responsibilities to mitigate the effects of climate change on public health and the environment.

"This proposal, we believe, is arbitrary and capricious," he said. "It ignores science, it ignores facts; and we will comment on it. And if they persist in pushing it forward, we will likely challenge it."

EPA officials say they can't offer firm projections about the health effects of the proposed rule because it will depend on what states decide to do to regulate coal plants within their borders. However, the agency's own models project thousands of additional asthma attacks, hundreds more heart attacks and five times the number of premature deaths compared with pollution levels in the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

The EPA proposal is online at epa.gov.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD