"Past administrations aimed to use the regulation to reduce haze-causing pollution in the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains national parks."
"In a gift to the struggling coal industry, a new air pollution rule finalized by the EPA will allow Texas coal plants to emit almost twice as much sulfur dioxide than an earlier proposal by the Obama administration. Aside from being a key component in forming haze, sulfur dioxide exacerbates respiratory illnesses such as asthma and contributes to acid rain.
“The new proposal is a sham,” said Dan Cohan, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University. “It does nothing. It sets a cap that’s higher than what those plants have been emitting for the past few years.”
For the last decade, hit by a double whammy of cheap natural gas and renewables and the cost of complying with air pollution rules, coal plants across the country have been shutting down. The Regional Haze Rule, which under the Obama administration required Texas to cut sulfur emissions by more than 55 percent — from about 218,500 tons a year to about 93,000 tons, costing utility companies $2 billion — could’ve been the final straw for many of the state’s aging and outdated coal plants. "