The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to repeal the agency’s Obama-era climate change program, the Clean Power Plan (CPP), “in its entirety,” according to a document obtained by Breitbart News.
The 43-page document, titled, “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stations Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” details how the EPA plans to repeal CPP through a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). This version of the document obtained by Breitbart News remains subject to change through inter-agency review.
The agency contends that the EPA, under former Administrator Gina McCarthy, exceeded its authority to regulate carbon emissions as stipulated by the Clean Air Act. The document proposes to eliminate the Clean Power Plan, and then suggested that they might release an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that will reflect a more thoughtful and modest approach to regulating air pollution given the EPA’s limited statutory authority.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in March ordering a review of the Clean Power Plan as well as other environmental regulations. Instead of Obama’s stifling energy regulations, the Trump administration will promote policies that favor American “energy dominance.”
The Obama administration designed the Clean Power Plan to lower carbon emissions from existing power plants by 2030 to 32 percent below 2005 levels. Conservatives widely viewed the Clean Power Plan, along with the Paris Climate Treaty, to be part of Obama’s “war on coal.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt criticized the Clean Power Plan earlier this year, calling the regulation, “unlawful.” Pruitt said, “This is an effort to undo the unlawful approach the previous administration engaged in,” he said of the president’s executive order, “and to do it right going forward with the mindset of being pro-growth and pro-environment.”
Myron Ebell, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) director of Energy and Environment programs and Trump administration EPA transition chair, argued that the Clean Power Plan remains illegal and would do devastating harm to the average American. Ebell said, “In particular, we applaud his action to begin withdrawing the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules, including the so-called ‘Clean Power’ Plan. These rules, which are clearly illegal, would raise electric rates for consumers significantly and do immense economic damage to the heartland states where U.S. manufacturing is now concentrated.”
The EPA document declares that they are “proposing to repeal the CPP in its entirety.”
The EPA contends in the document, under former Administrator Gina McCarthy, exceeded its statutory authority under the Clean Air Act to force states and power plants to comply with the Clean Power Plan’s regulation to lower carbon emissions.
Over 150 interested parties sued the EPA, including 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric co-ops, and three labor unions sued the former EPA administration in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the CPP was unconstitutional. A bipartisan group of 34 Senators and 171 members of the House filed an amicus brief arguing that the CPP was illegal and skirted Congress’ authority to legislate on environmental issues.
In February 2016, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the CPP pending further review. On August 8, 2017 the court issued an order holding the case in abeyance for a 60-day review and directed the EPA to file status updates at 30-day intervals.
In March, President Donald Trump issued an executive order which the document cites, which affirms the “national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation’s vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.”
The Executive order also directed the EPA to “immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind, those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.” Subsequently, the EPA conducted a review of its environmental regulations, including the agency’s Clean Power Plan.
The EPA contends that their initial review of the CPP “raised substantial concerns that the CPP is not consistent with the policy articulated in Section 1 of the Executive Order.”
The EPA explained, “For example, numerous States, regulated entities and other stakeholders warned that the CPP threatened to impose massive costs on the power sector and consumers; invaded traditional areas of state regulation over the mix of energy generation within their borders, departed radically from prior regulatory practice and longstanding reading of the statute; and did not adequately ensure the national interest in affordable, reliable electricity, including from coal generation.”
The EPA contends in the proposed rulemaking that the EPA’s ability to “revisit existing regulations is well-grounded in the law.” The document cites Chevron U.S.A. v. NRDC, Inc., National Cable & Telecommunications Ass’n v. Brand X Internet Services, and the Clean Air Council v. Pruitt cases to argue that the agencies have broad discretion to reconsider agency regulations at any time.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) contains a cost-benefit analysis that examines repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA estimates that repealing CPP would provide up to $33 billion in avoided compliance costs in 2030.
EPA Administrator Pruitt’s Scott decision to eliminate Obama’s Clean Power Plan serves as part of President Trump’s agenda to unravel Obama’s environmental legacy and pursue an America First policy of “energy dominance.”
In May, President Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. The president said, “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.” Trump cited that the Paris Climate Accord alone could cost America 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025. Similarly to the Clean Power Plan, Obama acted unilaterally without the consent of Congress and the American people to implement his climate agenda through the Paris Climate Accord.
Now EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who was one of the first Attorneys General to sue the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, can start to repeal one of Obama’s hallmark environmental programs.
EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman said in a statement to Breitbart News, “While we can’t comment on the authenticity of the document, what we can say is that the Obama Administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far that the Supreme Court issued a stay – the first in history – to prevent the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ from taking effect. Any replacement rule that the Trump Administration proposes will be done carefully and properly within the confines of the law.”