Trump Officially Guts Obama’s Job-Killing Coal Regulations
EPA Chief Scott Pruitt made it official on Monday, announcing that the Trump administration was set to completely scrap President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan, a set of regulations that was intended to cut down on emissions generated by coal-fired power plants. At an event in Hazard, Kentucky, Pruitt made the announcement that the administration would eliminate the program on Tuesday, bringing to an end a matter the Supreme Court put on hold nearly a year ago.
Several months ago, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to do a thorough, top-to-bottom review of the Clean Power Plan, demanding to know if the program was necessary to achieve U.S. policy goals regarding environmental protection. The answer, of course, is a resounding no. President Obama’s EPA devised the regulations as part of the administration’s efforts to play climate saviors, recklessly moving forward despite the obvious perils. Supporters praised Obama for taking proactive steps towards curbing emissions, but detractors said that the vague climate goals outlined by the EPA were not enough to excuse the federal overreach.
In a draft proposal leaked last week, the EPA said it had found that the CPP represented an expansion of regulatory power unauthorized by existing U.S. law.
“The EPA proposes to determine that the CPP is not within Congress’s grant of authority to the agency under the governing statute,” the agency wrote. “It is not in the interests of the EPA, or in accord with its mission of environmental protection consistent with the rule of law, to expend its resources along the path of implementing a rule, receiving and passing judgment on state plans, or promulgating federal plans in furtherance of a policy that is not within the bounds of our statutory authority.”
The CPP’s real-world effects were never tested because of a Supreme Court ruling that put the program on ice until several legal challenges could be heard by the courts. Those challenges may or may not be dropped at this point, but their conclusions will likely become moot seeing as how the administration has decided to revoke the rules.
Even without going into effect, however, Obama’s federal overreach had a detrimental impact on the economy. Utilities in several states had to cancel coal projects because they expected the regulations to be codified into law and coal-fired plants were forced to schedule full shut-downs in preparation for the rules. These plants determined it would not be possible to reduce emissions to fit within the boundaries of the regulations and remain fiscally viable.
How many jobs were lost? How much did energy prices go up in areas affected by just the THREAT of the Clean Power Plan? These questions will be answered soon, and they will form another piece of Obama’s sorry legacy.
The damage is done in some respects, but we salute the Trump administration for making sure that no further damage will be inflicted on America’s energy sector. This president can’t cure all of the ills of his predecessor, but he can damn well make sure that Obama’s eight-year reign of terror does not significantly outlive his tenure in office.