Trump EPA says limits on mercury emissions from coal plants not necessary

EPA proposes easing regulation of mercury from coal plants

"With this proposal, EPA has chose to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and all Americans will suffer as a result", said Carper.

Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage children's brains and impair intellectual and motor skills.

The EPA on Friday proposed a new rule that challenges the basis for the Obama regulation.

Research shows that when coal is burned, it releases mercury into the air, posing a health risk, particularly for babies developing in the womb and young children.

The agency proposed "to determine that it is not "appropriate and necessary" to regulate HAP (hazardous air pollutant) emissions from power plants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act".

Utilities' demand for USA coal is projected to fall further this year, by around 2.5 percent to 648.2 million short tons, the lowest in 35 years, according to the EIA.

'This is like when your four-year-old kid tries to clean up your kitchen - it actually makes things worse.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed a major change in the way the federal government calculates the costs and benefits of risky air pollutants, arguing that authorities should exclude some of the public health benefits stemming from new rules.

The public will have 60 days to comment on it before a final rule is issued.

Friday's move is the latest by the Trump administration that changes estimates of the costs and payoffs of regulations as part of an overhaul of Obama-era environmental protections.

Wheeler, a noted former lobbyist for coal energy companies, was chosen by Trump as acting EPA administrator after Wheeler's predecessor, Scott Pruitt, was forced out over several embezzling scandals in July.

According to the Times reporting, the new proposed rule would change the way the EPA determines the benefits of limiting different types of emissions, potentially making it more hard in the future for the agency to create new regulations.

Sen. Tom Carper of DE, the top Democrat on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, condemned the Trump administration's move.

Coming one week into a government shutdown, and in the lull between Christmas and New Year, "this low-key announcement shouldn't fool anyone - it is a big deal, with significant implications", McCabe said.

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