Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt took the first steps to dismantle a major Obama-era policy intended to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants on Tuesday.
Mr. Pruitt had signaled his intent to roll back the Clean Power Plan (CPP) Monday during a visit to eastern Kentucky, stating: “The war on coal is over.”
One day following, Pruitt signed off on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which proposed a repeal of the CPP.
“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,” Pruitt said in a statement. “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate.”
The Obama policy had pledged to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent by 2030, a vision measured by 2005 standards.
In repealing the rule, Pruitt declared CPP inconsistent with the Clean Air Act and would save taxpayers up to $33 billion by 2030.
The EPA’s move was welcomed by the Institute for Energy Research, which had sharply criticized the Obama plan as a “misapplication of the Clean Air Act” and an “unprecedented” intrusion by the agency.
Despite being greeted with enthusiasm by some, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign director Mary Anne Hitt wrote:
“(Discarding CPP) is putting the safety of our communities at risk, and making it crystal clear they have no intention of safeguarding people from the very real, immediate dangers of climate change.”
In addition, blue state attorneys general and environmental organizations have vowed to sue the Trump administration over the move.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of coal miners in the U.S. has risen four percent to approximately 52,000 since President Trump was inaugurated in January.
[The Guardian] [AP]