President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday that would relieve coal-dependent states such as Missouri from having to comply with strict carbon emissions limits. The plan to eliminate the Clean Power Plan was announced earlier this week by Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt.
About 77 percent of electricity generated in Missouri comes from coal. Under the Clean Power Plan, Missouri would have to cut its carbon pollution by nearly a third by 2030, based on 2012 levels. Coal-fired power plants would be required to curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the long term, and utility companies that operate them would have to transition away from coal to wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. Missouri is one of 28 states challenging the rule in court.
But local environmentalists say there are consequences to removing the Clean Power Plan, including “worse air, more premature deaths, fewer jobs and higher utility bills,” according to John Hickey, director of the Sierra Club’s Missouri chapter.
Ameren operates four coal-fired power plants in Missouri, though the company plans to phase out its Meramec plant in five years. The company has voiced opposition to the Clean Power Plan and argued that the policy could hurt business.
An executive order would not immediately remove the Clean Power Plan. Maxine Lipeles, director of Washington University’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, said that since it’s an EPA rule, the agency would have to issue a revised legislation.
Read more: St. Louis Public Radio