Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Reuters reports that the Scott Pruitt’s EPA is circulating a document proposing a total repeal of the Obama era Clean Power Plan, but they may replace the Obama plan with a new CO2 reduction plan.
Trump EPA to propose repealing Obama’s climate regulation: document
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose repealing the Clean Power Plan – the Obama administration’s centerpiece regulation to fight climate change – and plans to solicit input on a rule to replace it, according to an EPA document seen by Reuters.
The decision marks the agency’s first formal step to sweep away the rule intended to cut carbon emissions from power plants, after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in March launching the EPA’s review.
The EPA document, distributed to members of the agency’s Regulatory Steering Committee, said the EPA “is issuing a proposal to repeal the rule.”
The agency now intends to issue what it calls an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit input as it considers “developing a rule similarly intended to reduce CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel electric utility generating units.”
The document did not provide any details of the potential new rule.
Industry sources following the rulemaking process expect the proposal to repeal and replace the Clean Power Plan to be released as soon as the end of this week.
Janet McCabe, who headed the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation under Obama, said an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking could take years – meaning the replacement for CPP could be a long way off, or possibly never emerge.
“It certainly will draw the process out,” she said.
Frankly the consultation process for a “potential new rule” is a little disappointing. It is encouraging that the Obama era plan is to be repealed, but I don’t see how replacing the plan with a long drawn out consultation process will reduce uncertainty, even if the real intent is that consultation process will never produce a new plan.
As we have discovered in Australia, it doesn’t take much uncertainty to kill investment in new fossil fuel plants. The inevitable impact of lost investment in fossil fuel plants is rising power prices, which in Australia has produced an economically damaging slump in consumer confidence.
On the positive side, we finally get to learn whether renewables can survive without government help.