"But I'm getting rid of some of these ridiculous rules and regulations, which are killing our companies ... and our jobs". EPA air chief William Wehrum, a former coal industry lawyer, did acknowledge the plan's "collateral effects" on health Tuesday but said the EPA has "abundant legal authority to deal with those other pollutants directly".
Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) released a statement on Tuesday applauding President Donald Trump and his administration's roll back of an Obama administration climate rule. Horwath said that even Obama's Clean Power Plan was only a step in the right direction, adding that "to pull back even from this start is simply incomprehensible, given the climate crisis our country and the world face". And that may be optimistic, because any effort to make coal plants more efficient is likely to increase their importance in the overall power-generation system, meaning more dirty energy and potentially higher emissions. In contrast, the Clean Power Plan would have been well on its way by now toward its goals of saving lives, driving the growth of affordable clean energy like wind and solar, and meeting America's worldwide commitments to fight climate change.
However, the updated EPA analysis says the Obama rule would mean only a 4% reduction because of the ongoing shift that utilities are making to natural gas and renewable power.
The EPA's own analysis of the Trump administration proposal also estimated that it will lead to an increase in pollution-related illnesses, like asthma, and a rise in premature deaths.
More broadly, Trump has sought to reverse Obama-era measures to address global warming. He did not mention the health costs.
"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 new plan will result in deaths. "To their credit, they tell us directly, 'We are doing something to cause great harm to the American people'".
Environmentalists and other opponents said they expect legal challenges, arguing the Trump administration is abdicating its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act as set by Congress and the courts.
"Combined with the EPA's proposal earlier this month to ease gas-mileage requirements for vehicles, the move may actually increase the country's climate-changing emissions, according to some former top EPA officials, environmental groups and other opponents".
"If the Trump administration's proposal to dismantle the Clean Power Plan is adopted, we will work with our state and local partners to file suit to block it - in order to protect New Yorkers, and all Americans, from the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change", Underwood said.
Scientists said that without extensive study they can not directly link a single weather event to climate change, but climate change is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme events such as storms, droughts, floods and wildfires.
The rule also could allow power plant owners to sidestep costly permits for those improvements. "Trump's allegiance is clear - he's willing to pollute our air and undermine families' health to play the hero for a few coal industry executives".
Measures outlined by former President Barack Obama mandated cuts in carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants and was a key part of former USA commitments to the global Paris climate agreement. The rule dictated specific emission targets for states and gave officials broad latitude to decide how to achieve reductions. Several coal-producing states, including Texas and West Virginia, led a group of industry stakeholders to ask the Supreme Court to stay the CPP in January 2016 pending an appeals court's ruling. The plan also lets states relax pollution rules for power plants that require upgrades.