EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday formally proposed repealing the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan,” in a move to ease regulations on coal-fired power plants.
The EPA said the move to repeal would facilitate new developments of U.S. energy resources and reduce unnecessary rules that have curbed their development.
“We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate,” Pruitt said in a statement Tuesday.
The EPA said in a statement that the agency wants to declare that the Clean Power Plan exceeded the government’s authority.
Pruitt announced a day earlier he planned to issue the proposal. The decision comes after President Trump in late March ordered a review of the controversial program, which was put on hold more than a year ago by the Supreme Court amid legal challenges from, among others, Pruitt himself.
Pruitt signaled Tuesday that the proposal will prompt further review and possibily a new set of rules.
“The Obama administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far with the CPP that the Supreme Court issued a historic stay of the rule, preventing its devastating effects to be imposed on the American people while the rule is being challenged in court,” Pruitt said in a statement. “… Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”
The Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants by having states meet certain targets. Supporters see the plan as a critical plank in efforts to curb global warming, but critics contend it would kill thousands of jobs and take direct aim at the struggling coal sector.
The move to officially end the program was expected after the president vowed to end what he calls the “war on coal.”
Pruitt could, however, face a new wave of litigation from the other side of the debate, as environmentalist groups and allied Democrats are sure to challenge the rollback.
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune threatened such a court fight shortly after Monday’s announcement.
“Trump can’t reverse our clean energy and climate progress with the stroke of a pen, and we’ll fight him and Scott Pruitt in the courts, in the streets, and at the state and local level across America to protect the health of every community,” he said in a statement, calling the move “one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health, our climate, and the safety of every community in the United States.”