Reports: EPA to push for Clean Power Plan repeal

Reuters and other news outlets are reporting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hopes to scuttle the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that would have forced strict reductions on carbon emissions from power plants.

The plan was formulated by the EPA and finalized in rulemaking two years ago. It promptly was taken into court by 27 states and currently is in judicial limbo.

President Trump signed an executive order months after taking office directing his administration to roll back environmental edicts such as the CPP. Wednesday’s new reports indicate that the EPA soon will formally file to repeal the plan and ask for public input on its replacement.

Many utilities already are moving forward with carbon-reduction plans with or without the CPP, saying they need to make five and 10-year capital spending plans. Ali Zaidi, a senior advisor for Morrison @ Foerster, said that market momentum already favors renewable energy investments.

“The power sector is on a clear path to clean power,” said Zaidi, who previously worked as associate director for natural resources, energy and science in Obama’s White House Office of Management and Budget.

“The EPA just started a marathon swim against the current of clean power technoeconomics,” Zaidi added. I’m not sure if they’ll make it to the other side.”

In April the Clean Power Plan stalled when the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered it to be held “in abeyance” while Trump administration regulators reviewed the plan. Administrator of the EPA is Scott Pruitt, a former Oklahoma Attorney General who fought against several federal pollution regulations on behalf of utilities.

The Clean Power Plan calls for states to curb power plant carbon emissions about 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. If enacted, that would eliminate almost a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the earlier levels, according to reports.

President Trump has cast doubt on industrial causes of global warming and argued that overly strict regulations have hurt economic growth. He also pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord earlier this year.

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