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EPA Plans to Repeal Clean Power Plan

10 October 2017

"Here's the president's message: The war on coal is over", EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a gathering in the Kentucky coal-country town of Hazard.

Repealing the Clean Power Plan makes it less likely that the United States can fulfill its Paris climate agreement commitment to reduce emissions that are warming the planet and contributing to heat waves and sea-level rise, according to the New York Times.

The move to repeal the Obama-era rule has always been expected.

The Environmental Protection Agency just announced plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, Obama's signature climate rule aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

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The documents do not explicitly indicate that the EPA will replace the Clean Power Plan. Pruitt, who was Oklahoma's Republican attorney general at the time, was a leader in the court fight against it. The past administration was unapologetic. "Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers", Pruitt said.

Environmental groups were sharp in their denunciation of Pruitt's announcement. "When you have a regulation passed inconsistent with the statute creates uncertainty". And they are still pushing the Trump administration to be creative now.

The move is seen as a major victory for the coal industry.

But the rule won't merely disappear once Pruitt signs the proposal to rescind it. The administration will ask whether the EPA can or should develop a replacement rule - and, if so, what actions can be mandated at individual power plants. EPA is also expected to hold a public hearing on its proposal, which would likely draw a deluge of those both supporting and opposing the rollback.

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Jamie Henn, 350.org's co-founder, reminded his Twitter followers of research that has shown the Clean Power Plan to be a life-saving law, preventing more than 1,000 heart attacks and illnesses per year by limiting air pollution.

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.

One battleground will be EPA's number crunching. A plant-specific approach "would be grossly insufficient to address the public health and environmental impacts from Carbon dioxide emissions", Obama's EPA said.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called plans to repeal the Clean Power Act without a proper plan to tackle carbon pollution, not a "step forward" but a "wholesale retreat from EPA's legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change".

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Democrats, environmentalists, and other protesters demonstrated outside the White House after Trump signed the executive order in March, declaring it would lead to runaway climate change, while many Republican congressmen applauded the action for promoting energy independence.

EPA Plans to Repeal Clean Power Plan