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PNS Daily Newscast - September 25, 2018 


The list of accusers against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to swell. Also on the Tuesday rundown: Hurricane Florence SNAPs North Carolina to attention on the importance of food benefits; plus a new report says young parents need better supports.

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Groups Say Propping Up Coal Creates Public Health Threat

Outgoing Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has said he hopes the next Legislature and governor will expand the state's Renewable Energy Standard "to make Minnesota a coal-free state as soon as possible." (360.yale.edu)
Outgoing Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has said he hopes the next Legislature and governor will expand the state's Renewable Energy Standard "to make Minnesota a coal-free state as soon as possible." (360.yale.edu)
August 23, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Environmental groups call the Trump administration's plan to relax pollution rules for coal-fired power plants a "dirty power scam" that would affect public health by stalling efforts to slow global warming.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would replace President Barack Obama's signature climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan.

It shifted the power sector away from coal and toward renewable energy to cut carbon emissions from power plants by about one-third by 2030.

The Trump administration says its new alternative would lower energy costs for families and businesses.

But Joanne Spalding, chief climate counsel and deputy legal director of the Sierra Club, sees it as more likely to increase profits for the coal industry.

"This proposal if it were finalized, wipes out all the gains that would be made by the Clean Power Plan in an effort to essentially resuscitate a dying coal industry," she states.

The proposal, called the Affordable Clean Energy, or ACE, 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.

For economic reasons, Minnesota-based utilities are phasing out coal, so the state would not have seen much impact from the Clean Power Plan. But air pollution could increase anyway if other states burn more coal.

A coalition of states is already threatening to sue over the ACE Rule, and Spalding says if it's implemented, environmental groups may do the same.

"And so, its own analysis shows that this is horrible for our country and yet, you know, this is what they are proposing,” she states. “It's clear that this administration cares only about its allies in the coal industry and not about the people, and not about the planet."

The administration acknowledges that greenhouse-gas emissions "that adversely affect human health" would increase by about 3 percent under its proposal, compared to the Clean Power Plan.

That means thousands of additional asthma attacks and hundreds more heart attacks, as well as five times the number of premature deaths.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - MN