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GOP Backs Clean Air Plan Rollback: 'Right Move' for Rule of Law

GOP Backs Clean Air Plan Rollback: 'Right Move' for Rule of Law
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By    |   Tuesday, 10 October 2017 04:03 PM

Republicans on Tuesday praised the Trump administration's proposal to repeal the Clean Air Act, with House Speaker Paul Ryan calling it "the right move for the economy and for the rule of law."

"The Obama administration's signature climate rule was a vast, unlawful expansion of government authority into the energy sector with wide-reaching consequences for our economy," the Wisconsin congressman said in a statement. "The rule has been especially devastating to coal country.

"Congress will continue to work with the Trump administration to promote an energy strategy that gets government out of the business of picking winners and losers and instead encourages all types of energy sources," Ryan said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the proposal backs his state's coal miners.

"I applaud the Trump administration and Administrator Pruitt for supporting Kentucky miners and for taking steps to overturn one of the main pillars in the Obama war on coal," McConnell said in a statement.

"Today's announcement will help protect Kentucky's reliable and dependable energy source from further regulatory assault.

"I have fought against this regulation since the Obama administration first proposed it — and I am proud to finally have friends of coal in the White House and leading the EPA," McConnell said.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the proposal, which would pare greenhouse gas emissions and open a small window for a revival of coal-fired electricity.

In December 2009, President Barack Obama set a target for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

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

However, a formal end to the program could take months — along with any decision on whether or how to replace it.

Any effort on that front most likely will be challenged by environmental activists and state leaders, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who have already said they would contest the rollback.

Overall, the Clean Power Plan dictated specific carbon-cutting targets for states based on a complex formula tied to their 2012 power plant emissions.

It also gave states 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.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, blasted the regulations as "one of the most costly of the Obama administration's executive overreaches."

Thune said the rollback proposal helps the nation's families.

"Many Americans today are living paycheck to paycheck," he said in a statement. "By rolling back this rule, we can ensure that American families will continue to have access to reliable and affordable energy."

Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said that the Trump administration's plan "marks the next crucial step in a new era of transparency based on sound science.

"Through several hearings and oversight of the former administration's overregulation, the science committee revealed the faulty, one-sided calculations that the Obama administration employed to justify its Clean Power Plan.

"We have repeatedly found that the costs imposed on the American people vastly outweigh the rule's marginal benefits," Smith said.

"President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have reviewed the data and chosen to unburden our citizens rather than perpetuate a politically motivated rule that would result in minimal environmental benefits.

"Our nation can now move forward and develop smart, transparent policies that carry out President Trump's 'America First' energy strategy and relieve the American people of undue burdens."

Ronna McDaniel, who chairs the Republican National Committee, slammed the Obama-era regulations as "nothing but a power grab by the EPA to impose more regulations that would ultimately devastate America's electricity industry, raise prices on consumers, and wreak havoc on our economy.

"This is a positive first step towards restoring the EPA to its traditional scope of authority while returning decision-making power back to the states."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Republicans on Tuesday praised the Trump administration's proposal to repeal the Clean Air Act, with House Speaker Paul Ryan calling it "the right move for the economy and for the rule of law."
GOP, supports, clean air act, rollback, right move, rule of law
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 04:03 PM
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