US President Donald Trump plans to unveil a proposal that would empower states to establish emission standards for coal-fired power plants rather than speeding their retirement.
It's a major overhaul of the Obama Administration's signature climate policy and one that could significantly increase the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Trump plans to announce the measure as soon as Wednesday during a visit to West Virginia.
The Environmental Protection Agency's own impact analysis, which runs to nearly 300 pages, projects that the proposal would make only slight cuts to overall emissions of pollutants - including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides - over the next decade. The Obama rule dwarfs those cuts by a factor of more than 12. The new proposal, which will be subject to a 60-day comment period, could have enormous implications for dozens of aging coal-fired power plants. EPA estimates the measure will affect more than 300 US plants, providing companies with an incentive to keep coal plants in operation rather than replacing them with cleaner natural gas or renewable energy projects.
By 2030, according to Administration officials, the proposal would cut CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by between 0.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent, compared with a business-as-usual approach. Those reductions are equivalent to taking anywherefrom 2.7 million to 5.3 million cars off the road.
By comparison, the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan would have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 19 per cent during that same time frame. That is equivalent to taking 75 million cars out of circulation and preventing more than 365 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Under the EPA's new plan, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that help form smog would be cut between 1 per cent and 2 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Under Obama, the agency projected its policy would reduce those pollutants by 24 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, by the end of the next decade.
Mueller gets inside help
The top lawyer in the White House has been fully cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice in the Russia probe, it has been reported.
Donald McGahn, the White House counsel, has given lengthy statements to Mueller's team.
He has spent 30 hours being interview on three separate occasions in the last nine months.
The extent of McGahn's cooperation was first reported by the New York Times.
McGahn has told the Special Counsel's investigators about Trump's responses to the Russia investigation, the President's firing of FBI Director James Comey, and attempts to pressure Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to reassume control over the probe after he recused himself. The White House counsel also told Mueller's team about Trump's attempts to fire the Special Counsel.
The idea that the President's top lawyer would be so forthcoming with prosecutors with potentially damaging information about his client is considered unusual, legal experts told the New York Times.
People close to McGahn told the paper that he decided to fully cooperate with Mueller because he feared Trump was setting him up to take the fall for any potential illegal activity, including obstruction of justice.
- additional reporting Daily Mail