One of the plethora of issues addressed by President-elect Donald Trump on the campaign trail that resonated with voters was his vow to bring back the coal industry that has been decimated by burdensome environmental regulations under the Obama administration.
That vow would require Trump and his team to directly confront the Environmental Protection Agency and its myriad rules governing pollution levels, and the coming fight likely has career officials and rank-and-file climate change believers quite worried about what Trump has in store for them, according to the Washington Examiner.
At the top of Trump’s target list at the EPA is the agency’s climate change regulations, particularly the focus on rules regarding carbon pollution, most notably found in the Clean Power Plan, which is currently under legal challenge and court review and is expected to be addressed by the Supreme Court eventually, an arena where the EPA hasn’t had the best of luck recently.
Kathleen Hartnett-White, a member of Trump’s economic advisory team and former member of the Texas Environment Commission, stated that the EPA would be forced to dial itself back and focus more on “genuine pollutants” that pose a threat to the public’s health and well-being instead of carbon pollution, which supposedly leads to the dreaded “global warming.”
“He’s very much for clean air and clean water,” she said. “But the better home for considering this discussion about carbon dioxide and climate is in the Department of Energy.”
Hartnett-White stated that the Obama EPA has for the past eight years “used the legal rubrics of the Clean Air Act really to pursue a low-carbon energy policy and really not to further environmental protection.”
Saying discussions of climate change concerns were really more about energy production and less about environmental protection, she explained that regulation of carbon dioxide (the stuff we all exhale with every breath) “is the killer for coal,” and that Trump’s team would take on at least two of the EPA’s major regulations directly targeting the coal industry.
“Carbon dioxide has no adverse impact in the air we breath at all,” Hartnett-White said. “It’s a harmless trace gas that is actually an essential nutrient for plants.” Yes, we all learned that in elementary school science class, though it seems those lessons have been forgotten or ignored by EPA officials.
She added that the Clean Air Act “was never designed to control a pollutant that ubiquitous that has no adverse environmental impacts on people.”
Of course, Trump’s team knows that the coal industry is suffering from more than just a few onerous EPA regulations, so they are under no illusions that the entire industry will rebound to previous heights, but believe that providing a more level playing field free from obstruction will allow coal to better compete in the energy industry.
She insisted that coal companies could still competitively produce clean energy using an assortment of affordable and already available technologies to remove dangerous pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and a host of other airborne toxins. The same cannot be said with regard to carbon dioxide “pollution.”
As the EPA regulations stand now, even the cleanest of coal plants would be forced to eventually shut down, as it is virtually impossible and entirely too cost-prohibitive for businesses to reach the arbitrary levels of allowable carbon pollutants set for them.
“There is a very important role for environmental protection, but you can do so in a way that is not based on implausible worst-case scenarios and onerous, onerous regulations,” Hartnett-White added.
This is great news for those who have thought the EPA has pressed too far under the Obama administration and overstepped its authority.
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