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But the proposed regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency, which would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, has a serious flaw: it could make climate change worse.

Environment groups are likely to mount a court fight against the provision that would allow states to opt out.

The president also said the administration is working on "a military plan that's going to be something very special" - an apparent reference to the administration's examination of ways to save coal plants from retiring by making sure they remain operational as a matter of national security, the Washington Examiner reported. "We're not proposing to rescind the endangerment finding". A survey from DNV GL, a Norwegian company providing risk management advice, of 813 senior oil and gas professionals found 64 percent of the sector leaders expected to either increase or sustain spending on natural gas projects this year.

"Truth and common sense will triumph over Trump's insanity".

The EPA's analysis also laid out possible effects on public health. But the EPA also estimates the extra pollutant from the rule could prematurely kill up to 1,400 people per year by 2030. It will recommend a set of technologies to increase power plant efficiency, which individual states will then use to come up with plans of their own choosing. Many states sued the federal government after the Clean Power Plan was announced, and environmental groups and states are expected to do the same on the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.

Taken as a whole, the Clean Power Plan would have provided up to $45 billion in climate and public health benefits per year, even considering all compliance costs.

"This craven obedience to polluting interests will lead to serious consequences for American communities and our economy, as well as for the planet we call home", Whitehouse said by email. The move dovetails with a separate administration proposal to relax Obama-era greenhouse gas emission limits on vehicles and coming efforts to ease restrictions on the amount of methane that can escape from oil wells.

The savings highlighted in Trump's proposal - $400 million in annual net benefits with a reduction in Carbon dioxide emissions of up to 1.5 percent by 2030 - include a severe human cost, which the agency mentions in the fine print of its 289-page impact analysis.

By contrast, the Obama rule would have cut 67 million metric tons compared to business as usual over the same time frame.

But that still might not be enough to dramatically alter the landscape for US coal, which is losing USA customers as utilities increasingly turn to natural gas and renewable power to generate electricity.

The move is just the latest effort by the Trump administration to revive an ailing coal industry and strip climate change-fighting regulations established by the Obama administration.

"There's been a culling in the market in OH, just because of market forces", Butler said. Even where coal remains king, employment in the coal sector is declining, due to increased automation.

Environmentalists and several Democratic attorneys general said they would challenge the proposed rule in court because it would delegate too much authority to the states.

"States have leeway about how to achieve the reduction, but not whether to achieve it".

"EPA is not denying that climate change is happening or EPA's obligation to address the harmful health impacts of carbon pollution that's fueling climate change", says Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under President Obama.

A reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would go hand-in-hand with a reduction in soot and smog-forming materials from power plants. Up to 1,400 of them a year, in fact, by 2030.

About 40 percent of the nation's coal fleet has either been retired or slated for retirement since 2010, according to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Despite Trump's support for coal plants, they continue to shut down.

Electric utilities with coal generation are encouraged by the EPA's proposal. Although he added, "Nothing lasts forever".