EPA plans to repeal Obama-era Clean Power Plan

10 October, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Coal smoke and steam vapor pour out of a power plant in Shippingport Pennsylvania

The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that President Donald Trump's administration will move to repeal his predecessor Barack Obama's plan to restrict greenhouse gas emissions. But the the CPP, which stipulated that power companies had until 2030 to reduce their carbon emissions by 32 percent relative to 2005 levels, never really got a chance to have an impact.

Some experts say weakening the Clean Power Plan will not change the fortunes of the coal industry, which has lost significant share of US power generation to cheap, abundant USA natural gas.

"Tomorrow, in Washington, D.C., I'll be signing a proposed rule to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan from the past administration, and thus begin the effort to withdraw that rule", Pruitt told the crowd at the unannounced visit to the event, to raucous applause.

"As much as we want to see progress made with clean air and clean water, with an understanding that we can also grow jobs, we have to do so within the framework of what Congress has passed", Pruitt said.

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"Any replacement rule that the Trump administration proposes will be done carefully and properly within the confines of the law", EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said.

Trump has voiced doubts about the science of climate change and has blamed Obama's efforts to reduce carbon emissions for hurting the coal mining and oil drilling industries.

The EPA now says the Clean Power Plan introduced by Obama in 2015 was illegal.

The planned repeal of the Clean Power Plan has sparked outrage among environmental groups.

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"A decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan is a choice that puts American lives at greater risk from unhealthy air and the health harms from climate change", the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, representing 400,000 clinical practitioners, said in a statement following Pruitt's announcement. Obama's EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, called the proposal "just plain backwards".

"By saving an estimated 240 million tons of annual coal production, the administrator's action helps to safeguard more than 27,000 mining jobs and nearly 100,000 additional jobs throughout the supply chain", Hal Quinn, CEO of the National Mining Association, said in a statement.

In the leaked document, the Trump administration argues that repealing the Clean Power Plan could spare an estimated $33 billion in compliance costs in 2030, arguing that the Obama administration overstated the rule's potential health benefits. EPA has been working to repeal the CPP for months.

Though limited to its participating states, the latest RGGI agreement will go further than the Clean Power Plan in this region.

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The EPA has not, as was widely expected, issued a revised, weaker version of the Clean Power Plan.

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