The Environmental Protection Agency uses the affordability of energy among low-income communities and black people as an argument to bring coal back. Yes, the same coal is responsible for an estimated 3,000 American deaths per year.
Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced on Thursday a new proposal to lift the Obama era's provisions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. The EPA is doing so under the guise of "clean coal", a term commonly used to describe new technologies that extract carbon from coal-fired power plants. The problem is that the technology has not moved fast enough to become marketable, and the new EPA proposal calls for the abolition of the carbon capture and storage requirements of the Obama era.
Instead, the Trump Government Suggests Newer, Larger Coal-fired Power Plants can apply "Best Operating Practices" that emit up to 500 kilograms more carbon per megawatt-hour of electricity than was the case with Barack Obama's previous administration in 2015. This announcement takes place in the midst of international climate negotiations in Poland and immediately following news that global CO2 emissions are rising. The US does not seem to care (or believe) that fate lies ahead if we do not bring our collective shit together because of greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on our climate.
The most misleading thing, however, is Thursday's announcement EPA raises the question of how deregulation of coal-fired power plants can make energy more affordable and help disadvantaged communities. The government loves to promote fossil fuels as a road to freedom and prosperity, and today's announcement was no different.
"Affordable energy benefits for low- and middle-income Americans are the most disadvantaged and underserved communities," said Wheeler's announcement.
Harry Alford, President of the National Black Chamber of Commerce on Fossil Fuels, joined the EPA press conference Thursday to support this proposal, stating that this would benefit the Black and Latinx communities ,
Energy poverty is a very real thing, especially in low-income, black and Latin American communities. According to a report from the US Energy Efficiency Council (2016), families earning $ 25,000 annually spend more than 7 percent of their annual electricity bills. A household earning $ 90,000 a year will spend only 2 percent on energy. Latinx and Black Homes feel particularly stressed, according to the report.
But more coal can not fix this, especially in a world of cheap natural gas. If the US government really wanted to save money, it would develop a policy of providing bill support and housing retrofit to make buildings more energy efficient. According to this report, old, run-down housing units with poor insulation are the problem. This also applies to inefficient home appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers. Tenants do not always choose the refrigerator that comes with their home.
Investing in renewable energy can also help boost low-income communities, said Mustafa Ali, former chairman of the EPA's Environmental Justice, on Earther. Sun and wind do not contribute to the health costs or to the detriment of our planet. Instead, they create new jobs.
"Moving in a different direction and taking a direction focused on renewable energy, we can actually help our most vulnerable communities reach a thriving position," Ali told Earther.
Wheeler's proposal, Meanwhile, could cause air quality in and around many of the impoverished communities to suffer a hit. In addition to carbon dioxide, coal-fired power plants also release fine dust and toxic metals such as lead and mercury. While carbon dioxide is bad for our atmosphere, these pollutants are harmful to the lungs and heart. Too often, color communities are closest to these facilities, exacerbating their already high asthma rates.
Fortunately, new coal-fired power plants are unlikely to open if this proposal becomes the norm. Just as the administration wants to bring coal back, industry is dying out of the marketplace and not by regulation. These are the words of Trump's Department of Energy.
Instead of breaking their backs to find ways to revive coal, the US should find ways to save communities whose economies have relied on fuel in the past. They are now suffering from increasing poverty as a result of this market change.
"Instead of raising false hopes of reviving a shrinking industry, we should work towards solutions that benefit both our environment and our economy and help communities. Once upon a time, coal depended to build a new economic future." said Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, in a press release.
The feeding is in who needs to benefit from this proposal too 19659021]