The Trump administration announced plans to begin dismantling the Obama era Clean Power plan.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administration Scott Pruitt made the announced to a group of coal miners in Kentucky, saying the administration was putting an end to the war on coal, USA Today reported.
The Clean Power Plan rule intended to curb carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Pruitt’s announcement is the first of many steps the agency will have to take to roll back the plan that was put on hold under a Supreme Court stay pending the outcome of the legal challenge from the states.
Rolling back the rule was a major plank of President Trump’s campaign last year.
The president has called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by China to gain a competitive advantage. And he’s vowed to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, the international accord on global warming Obama embraced through his power plan rule.
The budget outline the White House issued earlier this year called for defunding the Clean Power Plan that Obama announced in 2015, which some two dozen states are suing to overturn. Oklahoma, where Pruitt served as attorney general before joining the Trump administration, is one of those states.
The Clean Power Plan rule was finalized in 2015, mainly targeting coal-fired power plants that account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The regulation requires existing power plants to cut harmful emissions compared to 2005 levels. By 2030, the reduction would be 32 percent for carbon, 90 percent for sulfur dioxide and 72 percent for nitrogen oxides.
The rule was developed over years to cut “significant amounts of power plant carbon pollution and the pollutants that cause the soot and smog that harm health, while advancing clean energy innovation, development and deployment, and laying the foundation for the long-term strategy needed to tackle the threat of climate change,” according to an explanation from Obama’s EPA Web site.
States are suing because they contend Washington does not have the authority to enact such a sweeping measure that they said would lead to higher electricity costs and reduced reliability of the nation’s power grid.
When the rule was implemented in 2015, New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection Bob Martin called the rule “unprecedented regulatory overreach (that was) uncommonly cumbersome, difficult and costly to implement, could undermine reliability, and would yield insufficient results.”
Paul Bailey, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, applauded the president earlier this year when he signed an executive order directing the EPA to begin the process of reviewing and rescinding the controversial rule.