By Erik Sherman
December 6, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency will today announce an end a carbon rule on new coal power plants that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas production, Reuters reported.

The Trump administration wants to make it easier for energy companies to build new coal-fired plants, according to Axios. U.S. Energy Information Administration figures show that domestic coal use will sink to a 39-year low in 2018. This is largely due to a drop in its use for generating electricity.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Clean Power Plan of 2015 was supposed to cut carbon emissions by 32% under 2005 levels by 2030. The most recent U.S. climate report stated that climate change, caused by human activity, was happening quickly and would carry a terribly large cost in environmental, social, and economic impact.

Energy companies found that the combination of stricter environmental laws and low cost of natural gas as a fuel made building new plants uneconomical. The removal or diminution of the rule could help make new coal plants more financially attractive to run and drive up carbon emissions. A report from the United Nations’ climate change conference says that global carbon emissions are expected to hit record highs this year.

Attempts under the George W. Bush and Trump administrations to promote so-called clean coal use had little to no practical impact on carbon emissions but became large profit makers for investors and energy companies through taxpayer-underwritten subsidies.

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