EPA to begin repealing Obama’s landmark climate rule Tuesday – The Hill

The Trump administration on Tuesday will begin repealing the Obama administration’s landmark climate change rule for power plants, a key part of the U.S. commitment to reduce emissions as part of the Paris climate agreement.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittZinke under federal investigation for speech to NHL team: report Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Overnight Energy: Dems take on Trump’s chemical safety pick MORE on Monday confirmed his plan to sign a formal proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which sought a 32 percent cut in the carbon dioxide emissions of the nation’s power sector.

Pruitt made the announcement at a coal-focused event in Hazard, Ky., alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.). The Obama rule was expected to significantly hurt the coal industry since coal-fired power plants are the biggest carbon emitters.

Trump has promised to help the coal industry, and he announced earlier this year that he would remove the United States from the Paris climate accord unless it was rewritten.

“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 Kentucky crowd, to raucous applause.

“That rule really was about picking winners and losers,” he said. “Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers. The past administration was unapologetic. They were using every bit of power, every bit of authority, to use the EPA to pick winners and losers in how we generate electricity in this country. And that’s wrong.”

Hazard is in the heart of Kentucky’s hard-hit coal country and the event was at a mining and construction equipment business.

The proposal will start to implement one of Trump’s signature campaign promises and a top request by the fossil fuel industry and congressional Republicans to undo the rule.

In doing so, it will start to roll back the key pillar of former President Obama’s aggressive second term climate agenda, in which he sought to use executive authority to fight climate change after Congress refused to pass cap-and-trade legislation in 2010.

The Clean Power Plan was never enforced. It was put on hold by the Supreme Court in 2016 to allow litigation against it to proceed. Pruitt, who was Oklahoma’s Republican attorney general at the time, was a leader in the court fight against it.

The proposed repeal, which was leaked to the press Friday, centers on the argument that the Obama administration exceeded the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act with the rule.

“The EPA proposes to take this action because it proposes to determine that the rule exceeds its authority under the statute, that those portions of the rule which arguably do not exceed its authority are not severable and separately implementable, and that it is not appropriate for a rule that exceeds statutory authority — especially a rule of this magnitude and with this level of impact on areas of traditional state regulatory authority — to remain in existence pending a potential, successive rulemaking process,” it says.

Environmentalists have been sharply critical of Pruitt’s repeal plan.

“If Administrator Pruitt plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, that would be a complete abdication of EPA’s legal responsibility to protect our children’s lungs from dangerous smokestack pollution and their homes from climate-destabilizing extreme weather,” Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp said last week.

The EPA will leave the door open in its repeal to replacing the rule with a much weaker version, but will not commit to doing so.

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