Protesters interrupt sole EPA hearing on weaker power plant rules

CHICAGO — The Environmental Protection Agency has come to Chicago for the only public hearing scheduled on a plan to repeal former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan and replace it with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule put forth by President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration believes the EPA's current rules exceed its authority and are overly burdensome.

Under the rewrite, individual states would be allowed to adopt their own regulations — including those that allow coal plants to avoid doing anything to reduce pollution.

Because Monday's meeting is the only public hearing on the issue, citizens concerned about climate change flocked to Chicago from near and wide.

Among those fighting Trump's plan is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who indicated legal court challenges would be forthcoming.

Protesters Monday morning disrupted the hearing for a few minutes.

Environmentalists believe that if the Clean Power Plan is replaced, an additional 1,400 Americans would die from lung-related illnesses each year. That number comes from data provided by the EPA, activists said. They believe Trump's plan is a move toward deregulation at home and abroad.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the rollback would have negligible health risks and be a tremendous boost to the economy.