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EPA to roll back carbon rule on new coal plants

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The Trump administration is expected on Thursday to roll back an Obama-era rule that requires new coal plants to capture their carbon emissions, a move that could crack open the door in coming years for new plants fired by the fossil fuel.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will make an “energy policy announcement” at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT) on Thursday. Andrew Wheeler, EPA’s acting administrator, will speak alongside Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, a long-time opponent of former President Barack Obama’s limits on carbon emissions.

The EPA is expected to propose allowing new coal plants to emit up to 1,900 pounds (862 kg) of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity, according to a New York Times report citing unnamed sources.

The Trump proposal, which is sure to be challenged by lawsuits from environmental groups, would replace an Obama-era standard allowing only 1,400 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour. That Obama rule would have forced new plants to install carbon capture equipment that is not yet commercially available.

No company has plans to build a new U.S. coal plant due to competition from plentiful and less-expensive natural gas. That could change as President Donald Trump rolls back rules meant to curb emissions linked to global warming.

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“I’m not giving up on building a new generation of coal-fired power plants in this country,” said Myron Ebell, who led Trump’s EPA transition team last year. Ebell said Trump’s policies could allow new coal plants to be build in the next five, 10 or 15 years.

The administration says coal plants can be made to burn coal far more efficiently. But high costs have made them uneconomic. The regulatory roll back comes ahead of the annual U.N. climate talks in Poland next week, where White House officials plan a panel on coal technology.

It was unclear whether the proposal can withstand lawsuits. Jay Duffy, a legal associate at Clean Air Task Force, said the weaker carbon emissions level would not satisfy federal clean air law requirements for the best available emissions technology.

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While the carbon capture equipment the Obama rule would have required is technologically feasible, it is expensive.

But Duffy said Obama’s rule would drive down costs.

“If Trump is really interested in supporting coal miners, what he should be looking at is supporting and advancing carbon capture,” said Duffy. “That’s the only way coal survives,” in a future where rules on carbon constraints are likely, he said.

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Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio


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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump offers to guarantee bail for rapper A$AP Rocky

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US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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The best Civil War movie ever made finally gets its due

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On Sunday and on July 24, Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue.

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