Investigation expands into EPA's Scott Pruitt

Chester Higgins  Documerica

Chester Higgins Documerica

Director Scott Pruitt said that tomorrow he will be signing a rule to start the repealing procedure of Clean Power Plan.

Pruitt, as Oklahoma's attorney general, made a career fighting EPA safeguards and was part of a coalition of state attorneys general that tried to block implementation of the CPP.

Trump has voiced doubts about the science of climate change and has blamed Obama's efforts to reduce carbon emissions for hurting the coal mining and oil drilling industries.

While the Supreme Court has concluded that EPA is obligated to regulate greenhouse gases, "this administration has no intention of following the law", said McCarthy, who led the EPA when the Clean Power Plan was completed. "Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers", he said at the event.

This is the latest example of how the Trump administration is aggressively targeting Obama-era regulations and other efforts to prepare and respond to climate change, from announcing plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord to axing restrictions on building in flood zones. "The past administration was using every bit of power and authority to use the EPA to pick winners and losers and how we generate electricity in this country". The past administration was unapologetic.

The standards were developed under an act of Congress, called the Clean Air Act.

"When you think about what that rule meant, it was about picking winners and losers".

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Trump has been touting his administration's plans to rescind the rule.

In a statement to the Washington Post on Monday, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan "without any timeline or even a commitment to propose a rule to reduce carbon pollution, isn't a step forward, it's a wholesale retreat from EPA's legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change". The U.S. Supreme Court issued an unprecedented stay against the rule in early 2016.

The planned repeal of the Clean Power Plan has sparked outrage among environmental groups.

In the leaked document, the Trump administration argues that repealing the Clean Power Plan could spare an estimated $33 billion in compliance costs in 2030, arguing that the Obama administration overstated the rule's potential health benefits.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) threatened to sue the EPA if the plan is repealed while the Sierra Club has indicated it would fight any new rule that does not comply with the country's air pollution laws.

"The Clean Power Plan achieved a thoughtful, balanced approach that gave companies and states considerable flexibility on how best to pursue that goal", said Melissa Lavinson, vice president of federal affairs and policy for PG&E's Pacific Gas and Electric utility.

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