The Environmental Protection Agency announced it will repeal the Clean Power Plan during a press conference in Kentucky on Monday, claiming that the regulation oversteps the agency’s authority and fulfilling a promise made by President Donald Trump throughout his campaign for office, according to The New York Times.
“The war on coal is over,” Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s director said at the event. “Tomorrow in Washington D.C., I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Kentucky.”
The Clean Power Plan is a regulation developed under the Obama administration to limit carbon emissions by gradually phasing out inefficient coal power plants and encouraging states to invest in renewable energy.
It was the centerpiece of the US’s Paris climate agreement commitments and was expected to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector 32% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
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A replacement regulation is expected to be crafted in the months or years ahead after a period of public comment. The new rule will likely try to reduce carbon emissions by getting power plants to invest in efficiency-enhancing technologies, without forcing any plants to close, according to The New York Times.
However, any attempt to change or eliminate the regulation could be dogged by lawsuits from environmental groups and states in favor of the rule.
“Rolling back the Clean Power Plan has been part of Pruitt’s agenda since well before he was approved to run the EPA,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve in a statement. “Slashing climate policy is par for the course in the Trump administration, but we won’t let it go unchallenged. This decision will be fought in the courts and in the streets.”
Further, many industry insiders believe that the dynamics of the energy industry are shifting even without the pressure of the Clean Power Plan.
In fact, many states including New York and California have set carbon reduction commitments that go far beyond what was determined under the regulation. Investments in renewable energy are booming throughout the country and many utilities companies are reducing investments in coal.
The Trump administration will publish its intention to repeal the law in the Federal Register Tuesday — a necessary first step in enacting repeal. The process to then repeal and replace the law could take months, if not years, according to the Times.