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Trump tosses Obama's 'clean' energy plan, embraces coal

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The order's first plan of action is halting the EPA's authority to limit coal-burning power plants, putting coal back on the energy menu.

Recently, in an interview on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos", Pruitt said, "We need a pro-growth and pro-environment approach for how we do regulations in this country".

One thing Trump's order won't include is a condemnation of the Paris climate agreement that went into effect previous year. Aides say that is still being discussed, even as the steps he took would make it hard for the nation to keep its commitment.

Perez said Tuesday that Obama's progress on climate change could not be starker from the changes under Trump.

About 40 percent of coal produced in the US comes from federal land in Western states.

Trump promised throughout the 2016 campaign that he would pull out of the Paris deal, but the fact he has yet to do some is left some environmental advocates hopeful that he may remain in the agreement. "We are returning power to the states where the power belongs".

The Obama administration's climate change initiative - which has already been met with its share of opposition and lawsuits - calls for reducing carbon emissions from the US power sector 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.

There is no mention of the Paris Agreement on climate change, from which Mr. Trump has previously said he would withdraw.

The legislation has been on hold since a year ago following a federal court appeal by several Republican-controlled states and more than 100 energy companies.

"There is no consistent evidence that regulations contribute to long-term changes in the unemployment rate, and rolling back regulations will not create jobs", he said.

The changes also reflect the view of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who routinely sued the organization he now leads during his time as the Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Already the states of California and NY - two of the most populous states - have said they will press ahead with climate mitigation plans. That rule has already been temporarily held up by the Supreme Court. Since then, a panel of the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments on the merits of the rule, but has yet to weigh in. The official also noted that there will likely be "litigation once the final [CPP] review is undertaken".

As expected, President Donald Trump has issued an executive order on "energy independence", which focuses on dismantling the Clean Power Plan (CPP) - what Trump vowed to do before he was even elected president. That 2009 endangerment finding served as the underpinning for later EPA carbon rules.

But some in the coal industry are uncertain that scrapping the Clean Power Plan will have any positive effect on coal industry jobs, which have steadily declined over the last three decades - cut in half from more than 186,000 to more than 98,000 between 1985 and 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

He agreed with Raney that research would help the industry but argued that if Trump is serious about saving coal industry jobs, he will invest in carbon capture and sequestration technology and enable coal workers to sell their product overseas to places like Europe and China.

"In our state the average utility bill would've doubled in 10 or 12 years" if Obama's clean-power plan had gone through, Blunt said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has advocated the U.S. keep its seat at the table by sticking with the plan. The suit, brought by Our Children's Trust on behalf of almost two dozen youth and climate scientist James Hansen, seeks a real and comprehensive climate plan from the USA government.

The White House will also rescind the moratorium on coal, signaling the beginnings of a campaign promise kept to coal miners despite skepticism from the mining industry that Trump can reverse the market forces working against the industry. While carbon regulations on the industry do make it virtually impossible to open a new coal power plant without carbon-capture technology, many plants already in existence have closed, in large part, due to competitive natural gas and renewable energy prices.

Meanwhile, companies have gotten more efficient at extracting coal, meaning fewer workers are needed to dig a given amount of fuel.

"Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers, and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry", Trump said as he signed the executive order.

Trump called the executive order "the start of a new era in American energy" and pledged that his actions would succeed at "bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again".

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