The Trump administration has decided to rollback Obama-era regulations that protected the environment from industrial pollution.
According to The New York Times, one regulation was meant to limit the leaching of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury into water supplies from the ash of coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans.
“Coal ash, the residue produced from burning coal, was dumped for years in holding areas near power plants, largely without regulation, but it came to the public’s attention after spills in North Carolina and Tennessee sent mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals from the ash into water supplies. Environmental groups warned that the regulatory rollback could lead to contaminated drinking water and birth defects, cancer and stunted brain development in young children” says the Independent.
The EPA is expected to come out with new rules that will significantly weaken the 2015 regulation that monitored coal plants. They are also planning to exempt numerous power plants from having to follow any regulations.
This move is ultimately another deregulation to help aid coal-fired plants so they do not have to shut down. According to EcoWatch, Eight coal energy companies have already filed for bankruptcy this year as demand for coal energy plummets. Cleaner energy from renewables and natural gas has gotten cheaper and more efficient, making coal energy an unpalatable option in the marketplace.
Environmental activists plan to challenge these rollbacks in court. Let’s hope they succeed.