EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to “withdraw” the Obama-era Clean Power Plan is intended as a sign to coal miners that “the war on coal is over,” but experts are confident the repeal will not bring coal back, and states are continuing to move forward with their own climate change initiatives.
Repealing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) was one of the key aspects of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign and there have been repeated attacks from within the Administration that suggested it was next up on the chopping block. Last week documents leaked that hinted the CPP’s time was up, and on Tuesday Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and long-time fossil fuel-puppet, Scott Pruitt announced a proposed repeal of “the so-called “Clean Power Plan (CPP)” — quotation marks and all.
“The war against coal is over,” Scott Pruitt told coal miners in Kentucky on Monday, announcing his plans to propose his repeal plan.
Pruitt’s rationale for ending the CPP was explained in a statement published on Tuesday, in which the EPA said that it has “proposed to determine that the Obama-era regulation exceeds the Agency’s statutory authority.” Further — and more in line with Pruitt and Trump’s long-held political talking points — the EPA explained:
“Repealing the CPP will also facilitate the development of US energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources, in keeping with the principles established in President Trump’s Executive Order on Energy Independence.”
Which says pretty much everything you need to know about the legitimacy of Scott Pruitt’s decision-making process.
“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. “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate. Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”
Pruitt has long held that the EPA has been overextending its authority by enacting policies that attempted to clean up the air, water, and prohibit excessive greenhouse gas pollution — obviously well beyond the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Further, and much more in keeping with the deceptive practices being carried out by this current US Administration, Ken Kimmell, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists, explains that “The EPA’s claim that the Clean Power Plan is legally invalid comes from — believe it or not — the legal brief of none other than Scott Pruitt, who challenged the Clean Power Plan in court as attorney general of Oklahoma.”
“Mr. Pruitt has participated in this issue as lawyer for one side, as the judge and jury at EPA, and now as the executioner of the Clean Power Plan,” Kimmell continued. “A respected court was poised to resolve the legal issue, but Pruitt asked the court to hold off, so that he could short-circuit the judicial process.
“As a result of this cynical move, power plants will continue to have the right to emit unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, free from any federal regulation.”
Unsurprisingly, the proposed repeal has been met with disappointment by many within and without the US renewable energy industry.
“We are disappointed by today’s proposal to withdraw the Clean Power Plan and restart the regulatory process from scratch,” said Matt Stanberry, vice president, market development at Advanced Energy Economy.
“As severe storms intensified by warming waters and air remind us of the urgency of addressing global warming, the administration will repeal the only national plan the United States has for cutting emissions from one of the biggest global warming contributors—power plants,” added Ken Kimmell. “Instead of addressing one of the most significant problems facing mankind, the administration thumbed its nose at science, and now at the law. Rather than positioning America as a leader in the global clean energy marketplace, the administration will stand on the sidelines.”
However, it is important to remember that while the country’s federal government is hell-bent on revoking any policies intended to protect the environment, promote clean energy, and clean up emissions — either because they are beholden to the fossil fuel industry, or because they have the name ‘Obama’ attached to them — state governments are standing up and uniting to ensure that these policies continue on a state level.
“Today’s proposal by the US EPA to repeal the Clean Power Plan would take our nation in the wrong direction,” said the US Climate Alliance in a statement this week, a bipartisan coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico who have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions with or without the Administration’s help. “As communities around the world recover from devastating hurricanes and wildfires, now is not the time to retreat in the fight against climate change.”
“The US Climate Alliance remains committed to meeting the Clean Power Plan targets. While the federal government steps backward, states will press ahead to confront the existential threat of climate change.”
The US Climate Alliance is planning to coordinate on a number of greenhouse gas-cutting initiatives, as Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in an interview with Yale Environment 360 this week.