Trump's clean energy plan lowers costs for all Americans: EPA's Andrew Wheeler

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The Administration's replacement proposal, the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, allows states to withdraw regulations to reduce emissions from power plants and is estimated to cut less than one-tenth of the emissions from the power sector than the Clean Power Plan was estimated to reduce.

"The cost to society in increases of death and other outcomes from air pollution are greater than the cost to industry from removing the Clean Power Plan", West said.

The implementation of those rules were halted by the Supreme Court in 2016, to give the courts time to consider the arguments over whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had exceeded its legal authority.

The Trump plan broadly increases the authority given states to decide how and how much to regulate coal power plants. Under every scenario the EPA ran, it found the proposed ACE rule would cost Americans at least $1.4 billion a year more than it saved, when compared with simply leaving the Clean Power Plan alone.

Easing the pressure on industry will bolster coal's fortunes over the next decade, compared with the clean power plan, as well as slightly reducing electricity prices.

The Obama administration said that by 2030, its plan would prevent between 1,500 and 3,600 premature deaths a year, lead to 180,000 fewer missed school days per year by children due to ozone-related illnesses, and significantly reduce asthma problems.

Perhaps more striking, the agency's analysis also finds the amount of coal produced in the expected to decrease across the board, in some cases drastically.

Environmental groups warned the focus on improving efficiency of coal-fired generators could raise overall carbon emissions.

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Bill Wehrum, administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, acknowledged that the industry "continues to transform in front of our eyes".

"The Obama administration and their plan were really engaged in social engineering and that is not the role of the US E.P.A.", said Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator of the EPA.

"It's possible that the market has moved so far that this plan isn't going to substantially slow down progress, but it's clearly not going to inspire anything", Thornton said.

The plan was the centrepiece in an effort to lower emissions and help meet global climate change goals set out in the Paris agreement, which Trump has pledged to leave. Coal-fired power plants, which have been shutting down in record numbers because of tighter regulations and competition from natural gas and alternative fuels, would get a reprieve. "We feel like the EPA proposal now is based on a correct reading of the Clean Air Act". The governors from both states have pledged to add more clean energy resources, including solar and offshore wind, to their renewable energy portfolios.

To make sense of the Affordable and Clean Energy rule, it helps to know what the 2015 Clean Power Plan did.

Washington is facing a legal battle over its decision to reject permits for a massive proposed coal-export terminal on the Columbia River in Longview.

Trump has vowed to end what Republicans call a "war on coal" waged by Obama.