President Trump is to take his first step towards scrapping President Obama’s “stupid” and “job killing” Clean Power Plan, an aghast New York Times reports.
The Trump administration will repeal the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s effort to fight climate change, and will ask the public to recommend ways it could be replaced, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document.
The draft proposal represents the administration’s first substantive step toward rolling back the plan, which was designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, after months of presidential tweets and condemnations of Mr. Obama’s efforts to reduce climate-warming pollution.
But it also lays the groundwork for new, presumably weaker, regulations by asking for the public and industry to offer ideas for a replacement.
In 2016, when it launched the plan at Obama’s behest, the EPA declared that the Clean Power Plan was a vital, cost-effective way of combating climate change which would ultimately benefit the U.S. consumer.
However, an independent study by the Manhattan Institute showed this to be nonsense.
The EPA’s cost benefit analysis was fallacious; it had drastically underestimated the costs – which it claimed would be $9 billion a year, but which the Manhattan Institute showed would be closer to $40 billion; and it would make no measurable difference to climate change.
Hence Trump’s election trail promise and executive order in March this year requesting EPA chief Scott Pruitt to rescind the CPP. This was part of a wider war on the Green Blob which has also involved withdrawing from the UN’s Paris climate accord.
Had it been implemented the CPP would have required U.S. power plants to lower their carbon emissions by 2030 to 32 percent below 2005 levels. Since carbon dioxide is a natural by product of almost every industrial process, the knock on damage to the U.S economy in the form of lost jobs and higher energy prices would have been huge.
Note, though, that the CPP is not being scrapped altogether but rather being delayed indefinitely through judicial fudge.
According to the New York Times:
Janet McCabe, who headed the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation under Obama, said an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking could take years – meaning the replacement for CPP could be a long way off.
“It certainly will draw the process out,” she said.
Some conservative groups have urged the EPA to scrap the CPP without replacing it, effectively ending U.S. regulation of carbon emissions. But some industry groups want a replacement to give utilities regulatory certainty and avoid possible lawsuits by environmental groups.
So while it’s good news that the CPP will probably never be implemented, the bad news is how difficult it is even for a determinedly skeptical president like Trump to unravel environmental regulation. Even within his own cabinet, there are numerous siren voices – Javanka; Secretary of State Tillerson; Economics advisor Gary Cohn – urging Trump to maintain his predecessor’s disastrous green policies.
This fudge isn’t perfect – and it still doesn’t solve the problem of the EPA’s Obama-era Endangerment Finding on carbon dioxide which ludicrously treats a harmless, life-enhancing trace gas as an existential threat. But at least it’s a step in the right direction: the green blob just lost another of its tentacles.