EPA’s response to Obama climate policy includes fewer restrictions on coal plants

EPA’s response to Obama climate policy includes fewer restrictions on coal plants

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday is expected to formally announce its replacement for the Clean Power Plan, a signature policy designed to fight climate change that was supported by President Barack Obama.

The new plan will include measures aimed at making it easier for electricity produced from coal to compete with natural gas and renewable sources, such as eliminating rules that would require coal plants to install pollution-reducing technology, according to The Wall Street Journal, which received an advance copy of the plan.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Journal the Clean Power Plan under Obama “was centered around doing away with coal.”

The Trump administration’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, is not expected to include ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which the CPP sought to do. Instead, more states likely will be given additional flexibility to set their own goals on how to limit the release of carbon dioxide and other materials that contribute to global warming.

Trump and administration officials have said that under Obama the EPA acted outside its legal authority and that regulations under the plan would have been too restrictive and expensive for companies that produce power from coal.

PHOTO: A pile of coal sits outside the NRG Energy Inc. Will County Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, in Romeoville, Ill., Jan. 8, 2018.Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A pile of coal sits outside the NRG Energy Inc. Will County Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, in Romeoville, Ill., Jan. 8, 2018.

The requirements under the original Clean Power Plan plan never were enforced because the Supreme Court stayed the rules after legal challenges. The Trump administration’s proposal is likely to face lawsuits that also could delay it from being enacted.

The Clean Power Plan was at the center of Obama’s efforts to slow the effects of global warming. When it was announced, Obama called it “the biggest, most important step” the country has taken to combat climate change.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the plan was not the “be all, end all” to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but that it was meant to start the country on a trajectory to meet its goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels.

A more coal-friendly policy would be “making us the only country in the world that is divesting itself of climate actions that make sense from every perspective,” she told reporters. “In trying to now be the king of coal, it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Environmental advocates have slammed the Trump administration for rolling back policies intended to combat climate change and reduce air pollution.

The Obama administration’s analysis found that reducing air pollution from power plants through the Clean Power Plan could prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of asthma attacks every year.

Lynsday Moseley Alexander, director of the healthy air campaign for the American Lung Association, said any proposed rule that doesn’t reduce pollution would fall short.

“We’ve already lost time in the fight against climate change from when the Clean Power Plan was adopted, so we need any replacement for the Clean Power Plan to do more, not less, and achieve the maximum health benefits possible by reducing carbon emissions,” Moseley Alexander told ABC News.

PHOTO: Surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining, President Donald Trump shows the signed Energy Independence Executive Order at the Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters in Washington, DC, March 28, 2017.Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining, President Donald Trump shows the signed Energy Independence Executive Order at the Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters in Washington, DC, March 28, 2017.

Joe Goffman, former senior counsel in the EPA’s air office, said grounds for a legal challenge to the new proposal could include that EPA has manipulated data to support rolling back or repealing the Clean Power Plan.

In one example, Goffman said, the EPA under Obama considered money customers would saved from lower utility bills as a benefit, but the Trump administration considered the lost income for utility companies an argument against the rule.

“Both in its legal interpretation and its approach to cost-benefit analysis, the EPA committed what scientists and regulators consider the cardinal sin of taking a results-oriented approach and then fashioning in an ad-hoc way the methodologies it relies on to produce those results,” Goffman told reporters.

Even if the real-world impacts are indefinitely stalled, former EPA officials said the decision to walk back the rule sends a message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is sticking with coal and taking itself out of conversations about new technology and improving air quality.

Members of the public can comment on the proposal for the next two months.

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‘Another unacceptable violent weekend,’ with 6 dead, dozens injured: Chicago police

‘Another unacceptable violent weekend,’ with 6 dead, dozens injured: Chicago police

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters on Monday the city had “another unacceptable violent weekend” that led to several people shot and killed.

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There were 58 people shot over the weekend in the city, six of which died from their injuries, police said.

PHOTO: Police work the scene where two people were shot near the intersection of North Eldridge Avenue and North Drake Avenue, Aug. 19, 2018 in Chicago, Ill. Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via Newscom
Police work the scene where two people were shot near the intersection of North Eldridge Avenue and North Drake Avenue, Aug. 19, 2018 in Chicago, Ill.

The department has three persons of interest in custody from this weekend, Johnson announced in the press conference. Since Friday, he said, 83 illegal guns were taken off the streets and 29 people were arrested on gun related charges.

Police officers dispersed 68 informal block parties and park gatherings that may have had drugs and illegal activity, Johnson said.

“These shootings are not random, they’re fueled by gang conflicts,” Johnson told reporters.

PHOTO: A Chicago police officer attempts to comfort the relative of a fatal gunshot victim as she grieves in the 4700 block of West Jackson Boulevard, Sept. 29, 2017. A 40-year-old man was found fatally shot on the sidewalk, according to police. John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images
A Chicago police officer attempts to comfort the relative of a fatal gunshot victim as she grieves in the 4700 block of West Jackson Boulevard, Sept. 29, 2017. A 40-year-old man was found fatally shot on the sidewalk, according to police.

Police are increasing their presence in the districts that see the higher crime rates.

Two teens who had been reported missing were found shot in a wooded area over the weekend, First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio said.

The teens, 16-year-old Raysuan Turner and 17-year-old Darnelle Flowers, according to ABC affiliate WLS, had been reported missing by their mothers. One of the teens had been reported missing after 24 hours, while the other was reported missing after 48 hours.

PHOTO: Evidence markers sit on the ground at the scene where a boy was killed after being shot in the abdomen while riding his bike in Chicago, Ill, Aug.5, 2018.Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP
Evidence markers sit on the ground at the scene where a boy was killed after being shot in the abdomen while riding his bike in Chicago, Ill, Aug.5, 2018.

Riccio said an officer was with the mother of one of the teens when she received an anonymous message saying they believed she could find her son in a wooded area. When the officer went with the mother and family members, both teens were found dead.

Police said one of the teens had no criminal history, while the other was known to police, Riccio said. He added they are speaking to two persons of interest to help determine the motive.

PHOTO: Chicago Police officers investigate a crime scene where a man was shot in the arm, August 12, 2018. According to statistics Chicago has more victims shootings and stabbings than both New York City and Los Angeles together.Joshua Lott/EPA via Shutterstock
Chicago Police officers investigate a crime scene where a man was shot in the arm, August 12, 2018. According to statistics Chicago has more victims shootings and stabbings than both New York City and Los Angeles together.

Johnson reiterated the importance of everyone doing their part to combat gun violence.

“We continuously fail to hold people accountable and until we do that we’re gonna continue seeing it,” he said. “These individuals are showing us every day they’re not afraid to do it, and we have to ask ourselves: ‘Why? Why aren’t they afraid?’”

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9-month-old boy dies after father finds him in hot car in Florida

9-month-old boy dies after father finds him in hot car in Florida

A 9-month-old boy died after his father found him inside a hot car on a Florida driveway, authorities said.

The baby, Keyton O’Callaghan, who had been in the care of his mother, Cami Lee Moyer, since Thursday night, was found in the car by his father, Eric O’Callaghan, on Friday, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said.

A call was made to 911 around 11:15 a.m. Friday and O’Callaghan performed CPR until first responders arrived at the Spring Hill home and took over, the sheriff’s office said.

Keyton was hospitalized in critical condition. He was pronounced dead shortly after noon on Friday, the sheriff’s office said.

Investigators were “unable to provide a definitive answer to” how long the baby was in the car, the sheriff’s office said Monday.

No one has been charged at this time, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Denise Moloney said.

Once detectives have completed the investigation, the case will be turned over to the office of the state attorney, the sheriff’s office said.

The temperature reached 93 degrees in Spring Hill on Thursday and 94 degrees on Friday. The heat index — or what it feels like — reached 103 degrees the day Keyton was found.

At least 35 children have died from hot cars this year in the United States, according to the organization KidsandCars.org.

This is also the third hot car death this year in Florida, the organization said.

ABC News’ Rachel Katz and Sam Wnek contributed to this report.

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Man beaten by officer was charged in previous encounter with same cop

Man beaten by officer was charged in previous encounter with same cop

A Baltimore man at the center of a viral police-beating video had a previous encounter in June with the police officer who was filmed punching him while on duty earlier this month, according to the man’s attorney.

In the previous encounter in June, Dashawn McGrier, 26, was arrested and charged with a string of criminal offenses for allegedly attacking former Baltimore police officer Arthur Williams.

But those charges, which included second degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, have been 0all dropped by the Baltimore State Attorney’s office, according to court records.

The charges against McGrier were dropped after Williams was indicted last week in the August incident, which was caught on tape and sparked widespread outrage on social media.

Williams, 25, was listed in court records as the “complainant” and the arresting officer in the June case, and a preliminary hearing had been scheduled for August.

McGrier’s attorney, Warren Brown, said he wasn’t at all surprised when he heard news that state authorities dismissed the case against McGrier last week.

PHOTO: A Baltimore police officer was suspended on Aug. 11, 2018, after he was seen on video repeatedly punching a man who refused to show identification.Instagram/@otm.twinchin
A Baltimore police officer was suspended on Aug. 11, 2018, after he was seen on video repeatedly punching a man who refused to show identification.

“We expected that to occur, because their witness is the same person they’ve indicted for assaulting my client, so I wasn’t surprised by that,” Brown told ABC News on Monday. “The cop stated that my client interfered in an arrest or an investigation, which led to him wrestling my client to the ground.”

The second confrontation occurred on Aug. 11 when the Williams can be seen striking McGrier several times and tackling him to the ground, leaving McGrier with a fractured jaw and broken ribs.

Williams and another officer were patrolling the area when he approached McGrier and asked for identification, according to Baltimore police officials. The encounter “escalated” when McGrier refused, the officials said.

McGrier was arrested but was not charged with a crime in the August encounter.

Williams resigned from the police department the following day and was later charged with first and second-degree assault and misconduct in office. He pleaded not guilty at his initial court hearing last Wednesday.

An attorney for Williams, on the other hand, said he was “disappointed” by the decision to drop charges against McGrier in the prior incident, in which his client was the “alleged victim and Mr. McGrier the alleged assailant.”

“They have dismissed these charges but chosen to go forward in seeking and then obtaining the present indictment against Mr. Williams,” Thomas Maronick, told ABC News in a statement on Sunday.

“While we are not necessarily surprised by this decision, we remain disappointed with it,” Maronick continued in the statement. “We believe that the prior incident and any facts pertaining to it are just as deserving a day in court as any charges against Mr. Williams. Now this will not happen.”

Maronick stressed that there was more to the story than what was shown in the widely-circulated video earlier this month.

A Baltimore police officer was suspended on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, after he was seen on video repeatedly punching a man who refused to show identification.@otm.twinchin/Instagram
A Baltimore police officer was suspended on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, after he was seen on video repeatedly punching a man who refused to show identification.

“We want to have our day in court and our chance to tell our side of the story,” Maronick said. He described his client as a family man, a mentor and a Marine with a clean record, but he did provide details on how the June incident unfolded.

The Baltimore State’s Attorney Office did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the June incident. The office indicted Williams last Tuesday over his Aug. 11 confrontation with McGrier, which the office said unfolded before “community onlookers.”

“Police Officers are sworn to protect and serve and when that oath is taken for granted and an abuse of that power is evident, we will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement announcing the charges.

“This is an integral part to rebuilding trust in our criminal justice system.”

Williams is scheduled to stand trial in Baltimore on Oct. 23.

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Trump ready to ease rules on coal-fired power plants

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The Trump administration is set to roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama‘s efforts to slow global warming.

It’s expected to propose regulations that give states broad authority to determine how to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. The plan would let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades. That would reverse an Obama-era push to shift away from coal and toward less-polluting energy sources.

The plan is to be announced in coming days.

Combined with a planned rollback of car-mileage standards, the plan represents a significant retreat from Obama-era efforts to fight climate change. President Donald Trump has already vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement as he pushes to revive the coal industry.

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MeToo activist reportedly paid off her own accuser

MeToo activist reportedly paid off her own accuser

Months after Italian actress Asia Argento became one of the first people to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, she’s now herself accused of paying off a young male actor who accused her of sexual misconduct.

Argento paid 22-year-old actor Jimmy Bennett $380,000 to settle the accusations. Bennett claims that in 2013 — a couple of months after his 17th birthday — a then 37-year-old Argento sexually assaulted him in a California hotel, according to The New York Times. The age of consent in California is 18.

A notice sent to Richard Hofstetter, the lawyer for Argento’s late boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, who was representing the actress at the time, claims Bennett made more than $2.7 million in the five years before the alleged assault, but his income has since dropped to an average of $60,000 a year as a result of trauma he suffered following the alleged “sexual battery.” Ms. Argento, who lives in Rome, subsequently hired Carrie Goldberg — a prominent lawyer for victims of online attacks — to handle the case, according to The New York Times.

PHOTO: Rose McGowan and Asia Argento during amfAR Cinema Against AIDS, May 19, 2005. J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images
Rose McGowan and Asia Argento during amfAR “Cinema Against AIDS”, May 19, 2005.

Bennett and Argento first met when he appeared at age seven in Argento’s 2004 film “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” according to the Times. They reportedly stayed in contact in the ensuing years and agreed to meet years later for a reunion. Bennett claims that at the time of the alleged May 13, 2013 incident, he arrived at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California, to meet Argento in her hotel room with a family member, who left the room after Argento asked to be alone with Bennett.

He also alleges that Argento gave him alcohol prior to the assault, which allegedly included oral sex and intercourse.

Argento then asked to take a number of photos with Bennett, according to the documents cited by The New York Times. They, along with an Instagram post of their faces taken on that day, were included in the notice of intent to sue.

The notice of intent reportedly sought $3.5 million in damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery.

Argento was one of the 13 women included in the first October 2017 New Yorker report about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and assaults that dated back decades.

Bennett’s other film credits include 2003’s “Daddy Day Care,” “Firewall,” “Evan Almighty” and “Star Trek.” He most recently had a role in the Amazon TV series “Bosch.”

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Woman dies from apparent alligator attack in South Carolina

Woman dies from apparent alligator attack in South Carolina

A woman has died from an apparent alligator attack on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina Monday morning, according to local authorities.

If confirmed, it would be the first fatal alligator attack in decades in South Carolina, local officials told ABC News.

Witnesses saw the woman walking a dog near a lagoon at Sea Pines Plantation, a gated community on Hilton Head, when she was attacked by an alligator and pulled underwater, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said.

PHOTO: An alligator rests on a fallen tree in the Sea Pines Forest reserve on Hilton Head Island in this undated photo.John Dreyer/Getty Images
An alligator rests on a fallen tree in the Sea Pines Forest reserve on Hilton Head Island in this undated photo.

“They were able to get her out of the water and she was still alive, but she died at the scene,” according to David Lucas of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The victim was identified as 45-year-old Cassandra Cline of Hilton Head Island, said Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Bob Bromage.

An autopsy will determine her cause of death, the sheriff’s office said.

Her dog didn’t appear to be hurt, the sheriff’s office added.

An alligator believed to be responsible for the attack “was located and dispatched at the scene,” according to a sheriff’s office statement.

In a post on its Facebook page late Monday morning, Officials from Sea Pines Living wrote in a post on the community’s Facebook page that “we are extremely saddened by this news and will share information with the community as it is made available.”

There has only been one reported death related to an alligator in the past 42 years in South Carolina, and it remains a mystery whether alligators actually caused that death, Lucas said.

“It was in 2016,” he said. “A lady wandered off from a nursing home and she was found [deceased] in a pond, bitten pretty badly. But we don’t know — and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to determine because there were no witnesses — whether she fell in and was then bitten, or whether she was attacked and then dragged into the pond.”

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First lady Melania Trump speaks out against cyberbullying

President Donald Trump may be notorious for using his Twitter handle to bully and insult, but that’s not deterring first lady Melania Trump from speaking out against cyberbullying.

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“Let’s face it, most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults,” Trump said in remarks to a cyberbullying summit outside Washington, D.C., Monday.

Promoting positive behavior on social media among the nation’s youth is part of the first lady’s “Be Best” initiative focused on children’s wellness.

“In today’s global society, social media is … part of our children’s daily lives,” Trump noted on Monday. “It can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly.”

Trump told the audience that adults have a role to play in guiding the next generation in best practices for social media engagement, even as she also encouraged adults to listen to children’s ideas for best practices going forward.

“By listening to children’s ideas and concerns, I believe adults will be better able to help them navigate these often difficult topics,” Trump said, while also saying: “But we still need to do all we can to provide them with information and tools for successful and safe online habits.”

As the first lady participated in the summit, President Trump spent part of his Monday morning firing off a series of tweets in which he blasted special counsel Robert Mueller as “disgraced and discredited” and also labeled former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance he revoked last week, as “the worst CIA Director in our country’s history.”

The first lady’s communications director on Monday defended her advocacy on the issue, in spite of the contrast it draws to President Trump’s social media habits, as something that should be celebrated.

“She is well aware of the criticism, but that will not deter her from doing what she feels is right,” Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “I would hope most people in this country are proud that they have a strong and independent First Lady who only has the best interests of children at heart – I know I am.”

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High school where 10 killed in mass shooting starts new year with metal detectors

High school where 10 killed in mass shooting starts new year with metal detectors

Students at a Texas high school where 10 died in a shooting this spring are starting their new school year with beefed-up security including metal detectors.

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The new security measures come three months after a 17-year-old student allegedly burst into art rooms with a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver on May 18, killing 10 students and staff. The alleged shooter was taken into custody and charged with murder.

PHOTO: People gather at a makeshift memorial left in memory of the victims killed in a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, May 21, 2018.Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
People gather at a makeshift memorial left in memory of the victims killed in a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, May 21, 2018.

Students throughout the district will begin the new year on Monday with metal detectors installed in all schools, said Superintendent of Schools Leigh Wall.

High school and junior high school students will enter through metal detectors throughout the school day, while elementary schools will use metal detectors for adults coming into the building, Wall said in a “welcome back” video posted to the district website.

PHOTO: Santa Fe High School students are starting their new year with security changes including metal detectors.Santa Fe Independent School District
Santa Fe High School students are starting their new year with security changes including metal detectors.
PHOTO: Crime scene tape is stretched across the front of Santa Fe High School on May 19, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas.Scott Olson/Getty Images
Crime scene tape is stretched across the front of Santa Fe High School on May 19, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas.

The high school underwent renovations this summer to create an additional vestibule at entrances for security plus four more offices for trauma counselors, Wall said.

All schools in the district will also now have automatic electronic door locks, with all doors now locking from both the inside and outside.

PHOTO: The community of Sante Fe gathers outside the Santa Fe High School for a vigil before the first day of school, Aug. 19, 2018, in Sante Fe Texas.Courtney Sacco/Caller-Times via USA Today Network
The community of Sante Fe gathers outside the Santa Fe High School for a vigil before the first day of school, Aug. 19, 2018, in Sante Fe Texas.
PHOTO: First responders work outside of Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018 after a shooting.KTRK
First responders work outside of Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018 after a shooting.

Other security measures include the addition of five more police officers and 10 more security assistants, Wall said.

The superintendent also said that the district will use tip lines and social media monitoring to increase security. “We hope to encourage open lines of communications where students and parents can report any items of concern that need investigating,” she said.

PHOTO: The Sante Fe community gathers outside the Santa Fe High School as the town comes for a vigil before the first day of school, Aug. 19, 2018. On May 18, 2018 a mass shooting that left 10 students and teachers dead.Courtney Sacco/Caller-Times via USA Today Network
The Sante Fe community gathers outside the Santa Fe High School as the town comes for a vigil before the first day of school, Aug. 19, 2018. On May 18, 2018 a mass shooting that left 10 students and teachers dead.

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Texas priest disappears amid molestation allegations

A Texas priest who’s accused of molesting teens and stealing from his parish has gone missing.

The Dallas Morning news reports that St. Cecilia Catholic Church officials believe the Rev. Edmundo Paredes may have fled to his native country of the Philippines.

Bishop Edward Burns says Dallas police have found the sexual allegations to be credible.

The church first began investigating Paredes in May 2017 over allegations he stole $60,000 to $80,000 in cash. Burns says Paredes admitted to the financial misconduct and was suspended from the ministry and removed from the church in June 2017.

Church officials then received allegations in February that Paredes molested three teenage boys more than a decade ago.

Burns says the Catholic Church is hiring private investigators to find Paredes.

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