The takedown of the Clean Power Plan begins

The takedown of the Clean Power Plan begins

Kerry Wise
October 11, 2017

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday signed a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule aimed at slashing carbon emissions from the power sector.

Rather than addressing the potential of carbon capture and storage, the Trump EPA dismisses them obliquely by noting they weren't proven technology at the time the rule was formulated: "That the CPP depends on the employment of measures that can not be applied at and to an individual source is evident from its treatment of coal-fired power plants".

Even before President Donald Trump's administration actually revokes the hotly contested Clean Power Plan, Murray Energy Corp. officials and environmental advocates are bracing to continue the legal battle that began under former President Barack Obama's administration.

However, the EPA in the draft document stressed it has not determined whether it would regulate carbon emissions and requested industry comments to inform its next steps. Coal production fell by at least 29 percent during the Obama administration.

"The Obama administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far with the CPP that the Supreme Court issued a historic stay of the rule, preventing its devastating effects to be imposed on the American people while the rule is being challenged in court", said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a news release issued Tuesday. It's declaring the Obama administration's approach inconsistent with the text of the Clean Air Act.

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Ending the plan could save up to $33 billion in compliance costs in coming years, it said. "Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we should go down to Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, where on a non-rain day they are closing down the street due to high tide", Gillum said in a speech in May covered by Politico.

The Clean Power Plan was the first federal policy to limit carbon emissions from power plants. The state measures, alone or in conjunction with federally enforceable requirements, must result in affected power plants meeting the state's mass-based goal.

The Clean Power Plan cuts 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. It also aims to transition from coal-based energy to wind, solar and natural gas power. Combating climate change by reducing the nation's reliance on fossil fuels makes economic sense and will protect the state's beaches from oil drilling, she said. Twenty-seven states joined the challenge, which is still pending. The order rejected previous government analysis of the Clean Power Plan's benefits.

"This is a huge step toward dismantling the Obama Administration's war on affordable energy", said Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

"(T) he CPP exceeds the EPA's statutory authority and would be repealed", stated the rulemaking proposal that accompanied Trump's executive order.