EPA Starts Process for Replacing Clean Power Plan
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is asking for public input on how to replace the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The EPA’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking—a first step in drafting regulations—the agency said it is “soliciting information on the proper and respective roles of the state and federal governments” in setting emissions limits on greenhouse gases.
“The main effect may be to leave the Obama rule in limbo,” according to reporting in Inside Climate News. The Supreme Court froze the CPP in place pending litigation that preceded Trump’s inauguration.
Twenty-eights states have challenged the regulation, which aims at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to repeal CPP altogether but debate within the administration ensued over how to fulfill the administration’s obligation to regulate greenhouse gases without being knocked down by the courts. The Supreme Court ruled that the EPA is required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions thanks to 2009 finding that carbon dioxide is a threat to public health.
As a result, the EPA is also considering replacements for the CPP which would weaken regulations. The CPP allows states flexibility in implementing their own emissions-cutting plans and, according to the Inside Climate News reporting, the recent EPA announcement “signals that the Trump EPA believes states…can make them less stringent.”
“In any case,” the reporting continued, “the latest notice suggests an attempt to ‘slow-walk’ any new regulation.”