Tags: Climate Change | Trump Administration | pruitt | epa | repeal | obma | greenhouse gas

EPA Formally Proposes to Rescind Obama-Era Clean Power Plan

Image: EPA Formally Proposes to Rescind Obama-Era Clean Power Plan
(Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 01:21 PM

The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed to repeal former President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan for paring greenhouse gas emissions, opening a small window for a revival of coal-fired electricity.

The formal rollback of that initiative, the Clean Power Plan, also will prolong uncertainty over the makeup of the U.S. energy mix and how much utilities must do to cut emissions generated by burning fossil fuels.

"We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a news release.

It will take months, if not longer, for President Donald Trump’s EPA to formally end the Clean Power Plan, much less decide on whether — and how — to replace it. And even that action won’t decide the issue, as environmental activists and state leaders, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, have already vowed to challenge the rollback.

"It extends a cloud over a whole lot of investment for the next couple of years," said Kit Konolige, a New York-based Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. Coming on top of weak growth in demand for energy, "it’s more uncertainty that you really didn’t need."

The Clean Power Plan dictated specific carbon-cutting targets for states based on a complex formula tied to their 2012 power plant emissions — and then gave them broad latitude to decide how to achieve those reductions, such as retiring coal-fired plants, adding renewable power, and promoting energy conservation.

The initiative, which was designed to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 never actually took effect because the U.S. Supreme Court put it on hold in February 2016.

With its proposed repeal Tuesday, Trump’s EPA is siding with the plan’s critics in arguing that it dictated overly broad changes to the U.S. energy system, rather than setting mandates on specific power plants. 

The agency is not committing to writing a new regulation governing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Instead, it will formally ask the public to weigh in on whether a replacement is warranted, and, if so, how it should be designed.

"Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule," Pruitt said.

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The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed to repeal former President Barack Obama's sweeping plan for paring greenhouse gas emissions, opening a small window for a revival of coal-fired electricity.
pruitt, epa, repeal, obma, greenhouse gas
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2017-21-10
Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 01:21 PM
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