- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a new rule on Tuesday that would repeal the Clean Power Plan, a major policy of former President Barack Obama.
Pruitt determined that the CPP, which aimed to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from electricity over the next few decades, exceeded the EPA’s authority and is inconsistent with the Clean Air Act. He argued that a repeal of the plan would save tens of billions in taxpayer dollars while simultaneously bolstering the American energy industry.
“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. Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”
Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, cheered the proposed rule, saying in a statement, “Repealing the Clean Power Plan is 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,” Ryan added.
However, Democrats condemned the rollback as dangerous and a disregard for the effects of global climate change.
Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, a longtime climate hawk and top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Trump and Pruitt “are on the wrong side of history.”
“It will have serious consequences for the health of the public and our planet, and the American people deserves actual answers,” Carper added.
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall invoked the dangers of climate change, noting that severe droughts and wildfires put his state “in the bull’s-eye of global warming.”
“The Trump administration’s continued denial of climate change in service of big polluters will have grave consequences for our children and our grandchildren,” Udall added. “Killing the Clean Power Plan is a reckless and dangerous decision that jeopardizes the health, safety, economy, and way of life of people in New Mexico and across the country.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown, whose state is currently being ravaged by wildfires, said, “Scrapping the Clean Power Plan ignores sound science and the extreme cost of climate change.”
But Brown added that California will take combatting climate change through similar policies into their own hands.
“California will, in fact, exceed the goals of the Clean Power Plan,” Brown said. “We will push ahead and work with states that share our belief in science and the imperative to combat global warming.”
For much of the plan’s history, it has been locked up in the courts. The Supreme Court blocked the CPP last year while federal courts determined its legality. But now, before it can be implemented, the Trump administration will attempt to scrap it entirely.