Reuters: Trump EPA to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

Scott Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. By Eric Vance, Photographer, United States Environmental Protection Agencyhttps://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-07/scottpruitt16x20.jpg, Public Domain, Link

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

Valerie Volcovici

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.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-epa-carbon-exclusive/trump-epa-to-propose-repealing-obamas-climate-regulation-document-idUSKCN1C90BY

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 It is encouraging that the Obama era plan is to be repealed, but I don’t see how replacing the plan with a long drawn out consultation process will reduce uncertainty, even if the real intent is that consultation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.

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58 thoughts on “Reuters: Trump EPA to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

  1. That means the high cost states and regions will remain less competitive for longer and Team California’s policy road map of higher rates everywhere will take longer.

    • The long drawn out consultation project is essential, otherwise Dems will easily find a district Court Judge that will declare any new EPA plans to be “arbitrary and capricious”, and rule that all decisions made during the Obama era are chiseled in granite and can never be changed.

      many of you don’t fully grasp how corrupt and politicized our federal court system has become. Fortunately Pruitt realizes it; he’s had to work with it.

      • many of you don’t fully grasp how corrupt and politicized our federal court system has become

        Absolutely, …….

        Apparently the lefty liberal partisan Democrat Judges not only think they are “above the Law” but that it is their God given right to “make Law” (legislate from the bench).

        It is long past time that Law suites should have been filed charging said Judges with malfeasance, misfeasance and/or nonfeasance.

        Malfeasance – wrongful conduct by a public official
        Misfeasance – doing a proper act in a wrongful or injurious manner
        Nonfeasance – A failure to act when under an obligation to do so; a refusal (without sufficient excuse) to do that which it is your legal duty to do

  2. I strongly suspect that as incentives are phased out or eliminated that previously unsuspected efficiencies and cost savings will appear in direct proportion.

  3. Step one: repeal the CPP immediately.
    Step two: spend years “looking for” a replacement.
    Sounds good to me.
    Death by a thousand cuts.

    • Step 1.5 – determine that the CO2 endangerment finding was predicated on old “science”, that more recent scientific findings show that it isn’t a serious problem, and cancel it.

    • That was my thought too: looks like Pruitt might be using the bureaucracy against itself by stringing out the study of a new rule “somewhere” down the road.

    • Sounds good to me, too. The CAGW religion will die, though “not with a bang, but a whimper”. It will be killed by ever longer and even harder to hide “Pauses”, then, decreases, in the global temperature record. Anything that reduces the rate of irrational catastrophic governmental hysteria “sounds good to me”.

  4. No sane utility will want to take the risk of spending several billion dollars on a coal plant with even the suspicion of a CO2 regulation peeking over their shoulder. Meanwhile, everyone can’t get enough solar farms, until they realize their bills are creeping up (can you say Germany and Australia?).

    • If all it takes is a suspicion, then coal is doomed. Sooner or later the Democrats will win another election or series of elections, both Congress and President, and the regs will be back again. This is what we’ve been doing for the last 40 years, at least.

      • “Duane October 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        If all it takes is a suspicion, then coal is doomed.”

        In Australia there is no suspicion, it’s policy Govn’t mandated. Coal *IS* doomed for local generation. Coal for export however, is a whole other story. We can’t get it out of the ground and shipped overseas fast enough. So now we have the ridiculous situation where the Govn’t is trying to force an energy producer, AGL, to keep a coal plant open for longer than economically viable and in opposition to Govn’t policy. You can guess who will wear that cost.

    • ‘Creeping up’? Try a 20% hike in one qtr! Latest consumer spend in Australia is down and I wonder why………

      • That was July 1st THIS year. We will have to wear ANOTHER ~20% rise next year, the year after and the after that and so on. It’s no wonder businesses are shutting shop and putting thousands out of work. And you are right spending is WAYYYYY down. I guess the Govn’t thought the economy will keep house prices rising…oh wait. That is flatlining too.

  5. The major problem is make sure the CPP is truly dead. As one of the rationales for the plan is the CO2 endangerment finding, killing that ruling is nearly essential.

    • Without the endangerment ruling there is no excuse for the CPP. That should mean that someone could sue the CPP into oblivion. yes/no?

      • @ Jeff A

        And that is exactly why the 1st thing that needed changed …….. was/is the Public School curriculum, …… banning the teaching of unproven “junk science” and Politically Correct “opinions” in all Grade levels from K to 12.

        Stop the liberal indoctrinations, …… or should I say “radicalization“, …… of the minds of the young children.

  6. As others have said First we kill the CO2 Endangerment Finding then we can kill all the Clean Power crap.

  7. Building blocks, emissions credit swapping, aggregation of EGUs, flexibility and autonomy in meeting the state’s goals all lip stick on the Federalist pig attempting to disguise its overreach. The states should take the initiative and EPA at its word and manipulate its EGUs as needed to meet their performance standard. WECC, ERCOT and the western states should get together and manipulate both existing and new generation to achieve their aggregate performance standards. Once the numbers fall chances are the impact on coal would be minor, certainly not fatal.

    California with a lot of NG could swap with Utah allowing intermountain, Huntington, Hunter, et al. to press on with little real change. Colorado and Nebraska trade with Wyoming and the Dakotas. Vermont has no coal fired EGU’s, but it does have other EGUs and should have a standard like every other state it could use to play in the credit swapping game.

    Different standard for different states violates the equal protection clause. There should be one lb CO2/MWh which achieves the national goal of a 32% reduction and applied to ALL including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam. All states with EGUs start with the same number of chips which they can then trade, swap, sell, negotiate to achieve the national goal.

    And what was the EPA Clean Power Plan supposed to accomplish? A 32% reduction in CO2 output from US power generation (not just coal). The US is responsible for about 16% of the world’s CO2 output. Power generation represents about 31% of US CO2 production. Therefore – 16% * 31% * 32% = 1.6%. CPP will reduce the global CO2 output by 1.6%.

    China and India will cancel that out with their next dozen coal fired power plants.

    Screw up the entire power industry, increase the price of electricity and not remotely solve the imaginary climate change problem. Nothing but political posturing! Wasting resources on a pointless exercise is truly harmful to the environment.

    BTW since the utilities have been retiring older inefficient coal fired generators with more efficient combined cycle designs power generation’s share of CO2 is now less than that of the transportation sector.

    As Carl Sagan observed, we have been bamboozled, hustled, conned by those wishing to steal and waste our money and rob us of our liberties. Hardly a new agenda.

  8. I thought I heard fireworks going off earlier today. Must have been Obama EPA enviro-mentalists heads exploding around Seattle….. /sarc.

    The document referenced was a ‘working document’ and may be changed as needed.
    “The 43-page document, titled, “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stations Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” details how the EPA plans to repeal CPP through a Notice of Proposed Rule making (NPRM). This version of the document obtained by Breitbart News remains subject to change through inter-agency review.

    The agency contends that the EPA, under former Administrator Gina McCarthy, exceeded its authority to regulate carbon emissions as stipulated by the Clean Air Act. The document proposes to eliminate the Clean Power Plan, and then suggested that they might release an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule making (ANPRM) that will reflect a more thoughtful and modest approach to regulating air pollution given the EPA’s limited statutory authority.”

  9. I’ll wait for the final outcome of this effort before deciding anything. I don’t see any up side to mollifying the alarmist crowd by adding any verbiage about CO2 reduction.

    • I agree ….. this is not news. …. it is just campaign fodder. Get back with me when the headline says the CCP has been eliminated along with the bogus endangerment finding. Then I’ll celebrate.

  10. Our eternal optimist Eric Worrall :)

    There’s no money changing hands in a repeal (of anything), or am I just cynical ?

  11. Good! I believe the USA has been actively pursuing CO2 reductions. These artificial public policies (mandates) end up throwing people out of work, drive-up the cost of energy which hurts the poor and adds costs to the cost of business and lastly costs to the consumer. Wind, solar and biofuels or biomass did absolutely nothing in getting people back on their feet after natural disasters.

  12. Nature and Politics abhor a vacuum.
    Pruitt should immediately replace the CPP with science based standards that (continue to) clamp down on particulate and NOx emissions that effectively close down or require significant retrofit of plants that are in violation. (However few there are in reality.)

    That would take way the EPA and the Heart Association’s talking points (albeit faulty) about asthma and premature deaths.

    It is absolutely true that uncertainty during a period of “considering a rule to similarly reduce CO2 emissions” will have the same impact as continuation of the CPP on the industry.

    Secondly, the proposed study is badly misdirected. It, like the IPCC, STARTS with the assumption that CO2 emissions are harmful. (Is this the Ivanka influence again?) The REAL study should be to determine if it is NECESSARY to reduce CO2 emissions (and even if we do, will it impact future temperatures.)

    Congress should revisit the Clean Air Act and more clearly define that its purpose is to insure clean air and water.

    • Your statement: “That would take way the EPA and the Heart Association’s talking points (albeit faulty) about asthma and premature deaths.”

      Can’t agree. NOX and particulate emissions have been dropping for decades while asthma has been going up. The EPA, the Heart Association, and the much more notorious American Lung Association have know this for years. All three have been conspiring to block the use of research showing NOx and particulate are not the primary drivers leading to asthma… particularly childhood asthma. As well as blocking the publication of the flawed research the EPA does use… mostly data from the American Lung Association. Republicans have been working on legislation to force the EPA to provide the general public with access to the data the EPA uses… but the Democrats continue to block the legislation.

      I don’t expect improvement, until the public & qualified health researchers can see the EPA’s flawed data and ask pointed questions.

      Otherwise agree.

  13. While repealing the 111 (D) rule, otherwise know as the “Clean Power Plan” would provide utilities and any surviving coal plants with regulatory relief… and would undermine the EPA’s hidden renewables “subsidy”… it wouldn’t help the coal industry much.

    Why? because the biggest obstacle to the coal industry is the need to build new coal plants to replace the closed ones. Unfortunately, the construction of NEW coal plants comes under the the EPA’s 111 (B) rules. The 111 (B) rules restrict the CO2 emissions of NEW coal plants and effectively mandates the use of carbon capture and sequestration. If the 111 (B) rule was repealed as well, new coal plants could compete with new natural gas plants on an even playing field. As it stands, coal has to compete with both hands tied behind it’s back.

    I can imagine this tactic being supported by Republican Establishment types. Since it provides the appearance of rolling back the Obama rules without providing the coal industry any real relief.

  14. Transatlantic Climate Bridge

    An agreement between the U.S. and Germany c. 2008 which includes the ‘Climate’ issue.

    As far as I can determine, Canada later signed onto this agreement.

    For information on the Agreement:

    http://www.germany.info

    Use the link on the left sidebar: ‘Economy, Energy & Climate, Innovation’ for information on each these topics.

  15. Here’s a link to Ronald Bailey’s insightful analysis of this move:
    v=http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/06/clean-power-plan-revoked-by-epa
    Here are the final paragraphs (without the active links in it):

    In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Supreme Court issued in February 2016 a stay halting implementation of the CPP until lower courts had resolved the lawsuits filed by 27 states opposing the regulation. Now EPA chief Scott Pruitt has reportedly decided not to try to overturn the endangerment finding, and is instead launching a rulemaking process that aims to replace the CPP with less onerous requirements.

    The Obama administration estimated that the CPP would yield $34 billion in annual climate and air pollution benefits at a cost of only $9 billion a year. In contrast, a NERA Economic Consulting study, commissioned by various industry groups, calculated that annual CPP compliance costs would average between $41 and $73 billion a year, swamping the negligible climate benefits of reducing future global warming by 0.02° Celsius. That’s quite a difference, but as we know, partisans can get an econometric model to say whatever they want it to say.

    But it may be beside the point. A 2016 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office compared the EPA’s estimates with various other projections. M.J. Bradley & Associates, for example, calculated that even without the CPP, power sector emissions would drop by as much as 26 percent below 2005 levels, assuming that renewable energy subsidies remained in place. A new report from the International Energy Agency suggests that such subsidies aren’t actually necessary, since the costs of renewable energy generation are falling so rapidly that they can out-compete conventional power production.

    And in a study this year for The Energy Journal, researchers at Stanford and Purdue concluded that if low natural gas prices persist, carbon dioxide emissions in the power sector would fall 26 percent below their 2005 levels by 2030, even without the CPP.

    In other words, the fate of the Obama plan may be largely irrelevant to the trajectory of carbon dioxide emissions in power sector. If so, the coming fight over the CPP will probably feature more symbolic posturing than substance.

  16. I explain, with links to the source data, in my blog/analysis (click my name to see it) why CO2, in spite of being IR active, AKA a ghg, does not now, has never had and will never have a significant effect on climate. A key factor is that when a CO2 molecule absorbs an IR photon, it immediately (about 0.0002 microseconds) begins sharing the absorbed energy with surrounding molecules. It takes CO2 molecules about 6 microseconds to emit a photon after one is absorbed so emission before sharing is negligible. The shared energy retains no identity of the molecule that absorbed it so energy absorbed by water vapor is indistinguishable from energy absorbed by CO2.

    Water vapor has 170+ absorb/emit bands at lower energy than the one IR band for CO2 and, on average at low altitude, there are about 35 WV molecules for every CO2 molecule. As a consequence, at low altitudes (except near the N & S poles where there is hardly any WV) the photon energy absorbed by CO2 is effectively rerouted to the water vapor molecules.

    Water vapor, which is IR active (i.e. a ghg), has been increasing at 1.5% per decade. It has increased 8% since the more rapid increase began in about 1960. The rate is about twice what it would be based solely on the temperature increase of liquid water (feedback, engineering definition) and coincides with the increase in irrigation Irrigation explains 96% of WV increase). Increased WV means more warming but also more clouds which reflect more sunshine and radiate more energy directly to space so the warming effect is ultimately self-limiting.

    Thus humanity, by irrigating, is contributing to the planet warming, or at least countering global cooling, it just has nothing significant to do with CO2.

    Figure 7 in my blog/analysis shows a bar graph of CO2 at various times and conditions. The OSHA limit for continuous exposure is more than 10 times the current level.

    • This is the kind of scientific thinking I like to see on WUWT (though I don’t agree with all of it). We need more posters who can write like this, it’s the actual science of heat transfer and we all need a better understanding of it. One thing though, can we stop talking about “photons” as if they were a real massless particle. Descriptions involving e.m. waves will work just fine, don’t forget photons are an invention of the human mind, not a real thing.

      • Rev – Thanks for the kind words. I would like to see what you don’t agree with, and why.

        As to calling packets of EM radiation which are one wavelength long ‘photons’, Feynman does it. Feynman lectures, chap 37 http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_37.html “…light energy comes in lumps or “photons.””
        “…all “particles,” including photons of light” .
        He further allows as “…Let us use light of a redder color. We could even use infrared light, or radiowaves (like radar), “

  17. The lesson from North Korea is that 57-years of negotiations have produced nothing but negotiations. MacArthur was right and Truman was wrong.

    Therefore the Obama “Clean Power Plan” should be nuked.

  18. Long overdue. We all recall Candidate Obaba’s Speech in San Francisco in which he said that under his energy plan utilitie rates would necessarily skyrocket,
    Think of the lives this will save.

  19. After reading this site for several years finally something in my expertise. This all goes back to the Supreme Court and the Massachusetts v EPA case which gave the EPA the ability to issue a significance determination for CO2. What EPA needs to do is find that determination was inappropriately made. Until it does it is tilting at windmills.

  20. Have to admit I thought Mr. Pruitt would be a dud . Wrong … he is one of a few of Trumps appointees that is
    actually draining the swamp and making America Great Again . Well done . Sessions on the other hand
    leaves a lot to be desired but really is that any surprise ?
    The IPCC climate models , on which the bulk of the great global warming scam is apparently justified , are now proven to be a garbage in garbage out programming assumption error . Warming over thousands of years has been tremendously beneficial and hopefully continues . Fortunately the 200 – 300%. over exaggerated falsehood has been exposed and the IPCC will fade off into the sunset having served their purpose . The fraudsters will continue to hide and never be heard from again .

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