By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — President Donald Trump’s reversal of some of the clean air rules imposed by the Obama administration marks a rejection of climate change science.

It could also prove a challenge to restoring the Chesapeake Bay, as WJZ’s Alex DeMetrick reports.

Surrounded by coal miners, the president summed up his executive order, saying: “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.”

Meaning Obama-era rules reducing dependence on coal to produce electricity are over.

Burning coal is a major source of greenhouse gases, which science says are heating the Earth.

Climate change is threatening more severe droughts, and melting Arctic ice with increasing speed.

Burning coal also poses a risk to the Chesapeake.

“Coal fired power plants all he way out to Indiana,” says Kim Coble, of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Their pollution comes to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, so there’s a lot of pollution that comes even from the Midwest to this area, settles in here.”

That pollution is a form of nitrogen, moving from air to land. Washed into waterways by rain, nitrogen feeds algae blooms which create dead zones in the bay.

Cleaner burning power plants helped reduce nitrogen in the bay by 25 percent.

That’s led to cleaner water in recent years, an improvement environmentalists fear could be undone if more coal is burned.

“Not having those plants become more efficient, having more pollution go to the Chesapeake, is going to hurt the health of the bay,” Coble says.

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