Trump moves to cancel landmark Obama climate change rule

The Trump administration officially moved to kill the Obama-era climate change rule for power plants, fulfilling a campaign pledge but setting off what is expected to be a bitter legal battle between the EPA and several states, health and environmental groups.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an agency proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which would have sped the nation’s shift away from coal-burning power plants and toward renewable power and natural gas, which emits less planet-warming carbon dioxide.

EPA is exploring writing a replacement that would let states set their own standards to require coal plants to run more efficiently, or burn less coal while producing the same amount of power. That would likely achieve few emissions reductions.

The Trump administration has hailed the withdrawal as a victory for coal, but market experts say the outlook for the fuel is still dim.

During President Barack Obama’s two terms, the fracking boom turned the U.S. into a natural gas super power, cutting the cost of the fuel by 75 percent and leading to a boom in natural gas-power generation, which tripled between 2009 and 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Wind power also surged under Obama, tripling in capacity, while solar power grew from virtually zero to become the leading source of new power generation in 2016.

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