Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

EPA to kill Obama-era clean power plan

EPA to kill Obama-era clean power plan

Green groups criticized Monday's announcement and praised the plan, a collection of emissions standards for US states that the Obama administration imposed to reduce pollution from power plants - the largest emitters of greenhouse gases - by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Pruitt's attempt is the latest in the Trump Administration's unsafe campaign of climate change denial, and is a wake-up call for state and local leaders: if you want to protect your citizens, it's time to take action yourselves because the Trump-Pruitt EPA has shown it's more interested in protecting polluters than the health of Americans.

That's a strategy environmentalists say is nearly certain to fall short of what's needed.

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.

The standards were developed under an act of Congress, called the Clean Air Act. It was a centerpiece of the Obama administration's environmental policies. The utilities are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases blamed by scientists for climate change.

The documents do not explicitly indicate that the EPA will replace the Clean Power Plan. "There's only so many opportunities within a big spinning machine like that".

The initial controversy focused on Pruitt's flights to his home state of Oklahoma - where, rumor has it, the former state attorney general is eyeing a possible gubernatorial campaign - between March and May.

The EPA has not decided whether it will promulgate a new rule at all. "The EPA welcomes comment on the legal interpretation addressed in this proposed rulemaking".

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Prior to the finalization of the rules in August 2015, power plants - which account for almost 40 percent of carbon emissions - "were allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere", said the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In the 43-page document, the EPA said the Clean Power Plan (CPP) introduced by former President Barack Obama in 2015 was illegal.

The EPA said it has not yet determined whether or when it will propose a new rule to regulate emissions from existing power plants.

"A very minor heat rate improvement program would very likely result in increased emissions", Schneider said. It was truly about regulating to pick winners and losers and they interpreted the best system of emission reduction is generating electricity not using fossil fuels. But an EPA regulation known as "new source review" has discouraged some from making those changes, for fear of triggering other pollution-control requirements, he said.

He continued: "That rule really was about picking winners and losers".

A plant-specific approach doesn't have to mean modest impact.

In response to the administration's announcement, the Natural Resources Defense Council posted on Twitter that the nonprofit plans to fight the proposed rule.

"I am proud to lead the coalition of states and localities defending the Clean Power Plan in federal court", he said in a statement. Alas, like pretty much any positive thing that Obama achieved during his presidential tenure, the Trump administration is hell-bent on destroying it. "We look forward to working with the administration to devise an alternative plan for decarbonizing the USA economy".

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