Unexpected Development from the EPA

Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fell under the purview of current director Scott Pruitt, many have expressed concerns about the agency's direction. Now, these worries are again confirmed as Pruitt announced in an event in eastern Kentucky today that he'll repeal the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which aimed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

"The war on coal is over,” Pruitt said, according to the Associated Press. “Tomorrow in Washington, D.C., I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Kentucky.” Pruitt has long-been known to reject the idea of human-made climate change.

Signed in 2015, the Clean Power Plan aimed to cut down the nation's dependence on coal, which contributes about a third of U.S. carbon emissions. The plan would limit U.S. emissions by 32 percent, relative to 2005 numbers, by 2030. On Tuesday, Pruitt will file the repeal proposal in the Federal Register.

Not Dropping the Ball

Despite the federal government's policies on climate change, which former U.S. Vice President Al Gore called "really reckless and indefensible," a number of states and private firms are still keen on cutting down on carbon emissions. Leading the charge is a group of now 13 states and Puerto Rico called the Climate Alliance, which will continue to implement policies to bring down CO2 levels coinciding with the Paris Climate Agreement's targets.

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Supporters of the EPA's decision see it as an opportunity for businesses to participate in crafting an alternative approach to a cleaner environment. Aside from this, the argument has always been that keeping the coal industry alive would translate to better jobs. Recent data show, however, that an even better economic opportunity comes with the pursuit of renewable energy. In the U.S. alone, renewables already employ more people than fossil fuels. Global investment in renewable energy has also trumped that of fossil fuels, totaling some $264 billion in 2016.

As Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune told AP, “Trump is not just ignoring the deadly cost of pollution, he’s ignoring the clean energy deployment that is rapidly creating jobs across the country."

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