The EPA might overturn another Obama-era environmental protection

The Trump administration is continuing its efforts to roll back Obama-era regulations, and the Clean Power Plan may be next in line.

The signature plan under former President Barack Obama was finalized in 2015 as part of ongoing efforts to fight climate change.

The rule required states to reduce their carbon emissions. It also offered incentives for early investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in low-income communities.

The Environmental Protection Agency said by the time the plan was fully implemented in 2030, power plant emissions would be down 32 percent from 2005 levels. In its original proposal, the EPA estimated the plan could prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths per year.

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But critics say the plan is a federal overreach and hurts coal jobs. The Supreme Court froze its implementation in 2016 following lawsuits from several states and energy companies.

RELATED: Foods that are in danger because of climate change

Foods that could go extinct due to climate change
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Foods that could go extinct due to climate change


There are many reasons why avocados are more expensive now than ever before, including a farmers' strike. But the biggest threats to avocados are rooted in environmental issues linked to climate change: hot weather and droughts have caused problems everywhere from California to Australia. Avocados are weather-sensitive and slow growing — making them especially susceptible to the effects of climate change. 

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In September, a report from the nonprofit Climate Institute concluded that the area around the world fit for coffee production would decrease by 50% due to climate change. In addition to dealing with drought, climate change has made coffee crops more vulnerable to diseases like coffee rust, which have wiped out more than a billion dollars in crops. 

(Photo by Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


Warmer and more extreme weather is hurting hops production in the US, reports ClimateWatch Magazine. 

And droughts could mean less tasty drinks. Some brewers fear that a shortage of river water may force them to brew with groundwater — a change that the head brewer at Lagunitas said "would be like brewing with Alka-Seltzer," according to NPR. 

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Right now, climate change is actually helping oysters, as they grow faster in warmer waters. However, warmer waters also make oysters more susceptible to oyster drills, reports Seeker, citing a recent study in Functional Ecology

Drills are snails that attack and eat oysters. They're already a multi-million dollar problem for the oyster industry that could get worse thanks to warming water temperatures.

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Maple syrup

Climate change is already shifting maple syrup tapping season and impacting the quality of syrup, according to Climate Central. Southern producers fear that eventually, areas like Virginia won't get cold enough for maple syrup production, even during the chilliest time of the year. 

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Indonesia and Ghana, which have historically had ideal climates for growing cocoa beans, are already seeing decreased yields of cocoa. Chocolate companies, like Mars, have hired meteorologists to study the impact of changing weather patterns and attempt to reduce damage. 

"If climate conditions in these growing areas begin to change over time, it may influence both the supply and quality available of an ingredient that we use in our products," Katie Johnson, a senior manager on the commercial applied research team, told Business Insider in September. "Anticipating what the climate will be like 10, 20, or even 100 years from now is difficult, though the better we can understand what the different climate scenarios and risks to our supply chain are, the more prepared we can be in the future."

(Photo by Charlotte Lake / Alamy)


If ocean waters increase more than five degrees, baby lobsters may not be able to survive, according to research by the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the Guardian reported. 

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that the Gulf of Maine will reach that temperature by 2100. In other words, Maine's lobsters could go from a more than $330 million business to extinct in 84 years. 

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President Donald Trump ordered its review in March. And according to a leaked document obtained by several media outlets, the EPA appears ready to propose a repeal.

The move would be in line with other recent actions by the administration to cut Obama-era regulations.

In June, the EPA moved to repeal a regulation designed to limit pollution in the nation's waterways. That same month, Trump announced his intent to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

If the EPA does propose to repeal the Clean Power Plan, it would likely lead to legal backlash. A lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council said ignoring emissions could put thousands of lives at risk. He told The Washington Post that "the courts are going to look at this very, very hard."

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