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Trump Plan Shifts Clean Power Debate to States

President Trump’s new proposal to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan has sparked a debate in the Commonwealth about the state’s energy future.

Former President Obama’s Clean Energy Plan relied on states and whole sectors in the economy, like the auto industry, to reduce their emissions by 32% by the year 2030.  President Trump’s new plan calls for a one to two percent reduction by 2035.

Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine says it doesn’t make sense. “It’s just so foolish to do because it was done in a way to promote flexibility,” Kaine said.

But Kaine’s Republican Senate opponent, Corey Stewart, says Kaine is merely regurgitating progressive talking points. “That’s because Tim Kaine is opposed to everything that President Trump does. Everything. Even when it’s good for Virginia Kaine is opposed to it,” Stewart said.

Stewart argues the plan could be a shot in the arm for the commonwealth’s beleaguered coal industry. “I’m very excited about it. This is an energy plan that is particularly exciting to southwest Virginia.”

But Senator Kaine and other Democrats are hoping that Richmond can pick up where they say Washington has dropped the ball. “You could easily see a Gov. Northam trying to promote it anyway, try to promote it from a state level.”

President Trump’s new proposal still has to be finalized by the EPA which is expected to take six months to a year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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