Yesterday, the Trump Administration took another step in its efforts to unwind U.S. climate change policy. The announcement presented little surprise and provided little substance as it provided limited additional clarity on how the Administration will fulfill its legal obligations.
Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposal to “repeal” the Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. In its announcement, the EPA stated objections to the Clean Power Plan’s design – asserting that the Clean Power Plan impermissibly “required regulated entities to take actions ‘outside the fence line’” of power plants. In addition, the EPA objected to the Clean Power Plan’s analytical foundation, especially the figures used to compute the costs and benefits of the regulation.
The repeal proposal follows a sweeping Executive Order issued on March 28, 2017, which called for repeal of the Clean Power Plan, and the subsequent announcement on April 4, 2017, by the EPA of a formal review of the Clean Power Plan.
The full text of the proposal has yet to be formally published in the Federal Register, but there are three other key steps to watch as the Administration attempts its Clean Power Plan repeal.
The Trump Administration’s October 10 announcement has no immediate impact on clean energy. However, it advances a process that should – and will – continue to attract significant attention and engagement from States, non-profits, and industry because of the potentially far-reaching implications that might follow.