(Western Wire) A new executive order from the Trump White House, to be unveiled Tuesday, will start to unwind a controversial regulation from the Obama administration which targeted the use of coal and natural gas in state electricity markets.
“We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment, and the executive order is going to address the past administration’s effort to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan,” Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said in a March 26 interview on ABC’s This Week. The order should be unveiled tomorrow, Pruitt said.
The Clean Power Plan, or CPP, was finalized by the Obama EPA in 2015. It would require states to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants and use more expensive energy sources like wind and solar. The CPP was developed after President Barack Obama’s preferred program, legislation establishing a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide, failed to pass a Congress controlled by Democrats in 2010. But the CPP was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, pending legal challenges from states, trade unions, business groups and other stakeholders.
Critics of the CPP say the Obama EPA unlawfully side-stepped Congress after the defeat of cap-and-trade legislation. Pruitt, who was the attorney general of Oklahoma before becoming EPA administrator, was a leading member of the coalition of litigants who brought the CPP to a halt in federal court.
The executive order will deal with “energy independence,” Pruitt said in yesterday’s interview, and the CPP will be one of the Obama-era regulations targeted.
“It’s clear that the past administration had a very anti-fossil fuel strategy,” Pruitt said. “This Clean Power Plan is something that the Supreme Court … has said is likely unlawful,” he said. “Our actions, starting on Tuesday shortly after the executive order, will make sure that whatever steps we take in the future, [they] will be pro-growth, pro-environment but within the framework of the Clean Air Act. And it will be legal.”
“Across the energy sector, we have so much opportunity,” Pruitt said. “The last administration had an idea of keeping it in the ground. We need to be more independent and less reliant on foreign energy sources.”