EPA Plans Rule Rollback: Trump Administration to Abandon Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Source:  Helena Independent Record, August 21, 2018    By:  Matthew Daly, AP

The Trump administration will roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s efforts to slow global warming, the Clean Power Plan that restricts greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.A plan expected to be announced today would give states broad authority to determine how to restrict carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The plan by the Environmental Protection Agency also would let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades, according to a summary of the plan and several people familiar with the full proposal who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity…

Trump also directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take steps to bolster struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants to keep them open, warning that impending retirements of “fuel secure” power plants that rely on coal and nuclear power are harming the nation’s power grid and reducing its resilience….

A three-page summary being circulated at the White House focuses on boosting efficiency at coal-fired plants and allowing states to reduce “wasteful compliance costs” while focusing on improved environmental outcomes.  Critics say focusing on improved efficiency would allow utilities to run older, dirtier power plants more often, undercutting potential environmental benefits.

The White House rejects that criticism.

“Carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector will continue to fall under this rule, but this will happen legally and with proper respect for the states, unlike” the Clean Power Plan, the summary says.  The AP obtained a copy of the summary, which asserts that the Obama-era plan exceeds the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act…

Gina McCarthy, who served as EPA administrator when the Clean Power Plan was created in 2015, said that based on draft proposals and news reports, she expects the plan will not set specific federal targets for reducing emissions from coal-fired plants.  The new plan would give utilities and states more flexibility in achieving emissions reductions, but critics say it could harm public health.