EPA to start Clean Power Plan repeal: Update
Updates with reaction from New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman
San Francisco, 9 October (Argus) — The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA will begin a process tomorrow to repeal the CO2 standards for existing power plants, agency administrator Scott Pruitt said today.
Pruitt said he will sign a proposal "to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan," saying it is not within the agency's authority to enforce such a regulation.
"It's Congress that passes legislation, that gives us direction, that gives us our orders as far as how we administer those statutes. The last administration simply made it up," Pruitt said during an appearance in Hazard, Kentucky.
Pruitt said EPA under former president Barack Obama used the regulation, which required states to develop plans to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants from 2022-2030, as an effort to pick "winners and loser" in electricity generation.
"That is wrong. What we should be about as an agency, and this may not be the most profound statement you may hear this, but regulations ought to make things regular," Pruitt said.
Pruitt did not say whether President Donald Trump's administration intends to replace the regulation. A draft of the proposed withdrawal says the agency will "in the near future" start a separate process to solicit stakeholder feedback on whether it should issue a new CO2 regulation for power plants.
EPA critics, including former agency officials and environmental groups, say they are concerned by the lack of any definitive timeline for action on a possible replacement rule, which could lead to new legal action against the agency. They say the regulatory process EPA appears to be planning could extend into late 2020.
Supporters of the regulation, including the attorneys general of New York and California, are already vowing to go to court if EPA finalizes the repeal.
"By seeking to repeal the Clean Power Plan - especially without any credible commitment to replacing it - the Trump administration's campaign of climate change denial continues," New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman (D) said.