The EPA Repeals the Clean Power Plan
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a notice proposing to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP).
The CPP is the cornerstone of former President Obama’s climate change policy. In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, developed under the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court placed a hold on the CPP in February 2016 until a lower court rules on its merits.
The stated reason for repealing the CPP is that it “exceeds the Agency’s statutory authority,” and repealing it will “facilitate the development of U.S. energy resources.” Trump signed an executive order in March that established a national policy favoring energy independence. The executive order stated that it is “in the national interest to ensure that the Nation's electricity is affordable, reliable, safe, secure, and clean and that it can be produced from coal, natural gas, nuclear material, flowing water, and other domestic sources, including renewable sources.”
Pruitt said in a statement that repealing the CPP will save $33 billion in avoided costs in 2030. A report by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) finds that the CPP could create 560,000 jobs and add $52 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2030. The incremental energy efficiency savings through the CPP could reduce yearly average household electricity bills by seven percent in 2030.
Yale Climate Opinion Maps found that 75 percent of Americans support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Despite that support, Pruitt said that the Trump administration is “committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate,” said Pruitt.
Environmental groups are opposed to the repeal of the CPP. David Smedick, Maryland Policy and Legislative Representative at the Sierra Club said in a statement that by “gutting the Clean Power Plan, the Trump Administration is throwing out an affordable, flexible life-saving plan to cut carbon pollution and promising to replace it with a Dirty Power Plan, which will let the fossil fuel industry to continue polluting our air and climate while our families pay the price.”
May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org, vowed that the repeal of the CPP will be “fought in the courts and in the streets.”
Climate change is already having devastating impacts in the U.S. Last year was the hottest year on record since recording keeping started in 1880, according to scientists from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Sixteen of the hottest years ever have happened in this century. Sea level rise is happening faster than at any time in the last 2,800 years. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria combined killed at least 160 people and caused damage and destruction that could be over $300 billion. Wildfires have burned over 8.4 million acres this year, 41 percent above average, and that will cost taxpayers $2.3 billion in firefighting costs.
Many companies support the Clean Power Plan
There is business support for the CPP. Over 365 companies and investors showed their support for the CPP by sending a letter to over two-dozen governors across the U.S. In the letter, the companies and investors stated that they “strongly support” the implementation of the CPP. Over 1,700 companies and investors signed the We Are Still In statement voicing support for the Paris Climate Agreement.
“More and more major companies are already choosing to rely on cost-cutting renewable energy to power their operations,” said Anne Kelly, senior director of policy at Ceres and the BICEP Network, in a statement.
One day after the announcement about the repeal of the CPP, Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, announced his $64 million commitment to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and other organizations working to further the U.S. clean energy market.