EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A plan to reduce pollution could impact the Tri-State.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency announced a new “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) rule.
This plane will replace former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The biggest differences between the two is ACE gives more authority to states and is less strict on reducing carbon emissions.
In support, Congressman Larry Bucshon says this new plan gives incentives for private investment in new, cleaner technologies. But others see this as a “dirty power plan”, designed just to preserve the profits of the coal industry.
It is particularly important close to home, as studies name southern Indiana as one of the worst polluters in the country.
“Coal speaks loudly, unfortunately for them, coal is no longer economic,” says Valley Watch President John Blair.
Blair tells us he is not surprised President Trump kept his promise to replace the plan introduced in 2015 by President Obama.
“It’s like, okay we had all these improvements, but we can’t really enjoy them because they hadn’t even started taking affect yet in many cases, so it’s a huge mistake,” says Blair.
The Supreme Court paused the plan in 2016 after complaints it over-stepped the EPA’s jurisdiction. Senator Mitch McConnell says Obama’s plan came with higher power prices and fewer American jobs.
“Any rational observer would have concluded that this regulation was all pain for no gain," explains McConnell. "Just good American jobs being shipped over seas.”
The Kentucky leader says the Affordable Clean Energy rule is a win for the Commonwealth. Back in the Tri-State, energy powerhouse Vectren is reviewing ACE.
In a statement to 14 News, Vectren said it will “fully consider the cost for compliance and evaluate all resource options for generating reliable and reasonably-priced electricity for its customers for years to come.”
Environmentalists are feeling more concerned about how the decisions made on Wednesday will impact the planet in the days to come.
“If you take away all of those regulations, every one of those regulations that protects groundwater and that sort of thing from the disposal of waste, that protects, that takes out the air pollution, even if you take away all those things coal’s still going to be hard to compete with renewable energy,” says Blair.
An EPA analysis in 2018 estimated President Trump’s replacement rule would kill an extra 300 to 1,500 people each year by 2030, due to additional air pollution from the power grid. Now, this announcement comes just after Trump announced his 2020 Presidential Campaign on Tuesday.