On Monday, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it will officially abolish the Clean Power Plan, a landmark achievement of the Obama administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster the clean energy transition in the US.
The announcement came from Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, while speaking in Kentucky, where he announced that it will sign to repeal the Clean Power Plan on Tuesday.
He said: “The war on coal is over”.
“Tomorrow in Washington, D.C., I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. No better place to make that announcement in than Hazard, Kentucky”.
The Clean Power Plan was created after executive order back in 2015, and was used as the main tool of the US to meet its Paris Agreement pledges.
It required States to meet specific carbon emission reduction standards based in their energy consumption, including an incentive program for States to accelerate early deployment of renewable energy and low-income energy efficiency.
Its creators had estimated that the Plan could prevent 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children per year.
According to CNN, when Scott Pruitt was asked on Fox News earlier this year about the health consequences of repealing the Clean Power Plan, he focused his answer on the cost of lost jobs, calling the Plan a ‘bureaucratic overreach’.
The decision goes in line with June’s decision to withdraw the US from Paris Agreement with the wider aim to revive the US coal industry and boost domestic fossil fuels production.
EPA issued a 43-page draft document, where it argued that the Clean Power Plan was ‘illegal’.
It said that the Obama administration misused section 111 of the federal Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.
More specifically, it argued that the section can only be used to regulate a single source of emissions, but the Clean Power Plan instead “encompassed measures that would generally require power generators to change their energy portfolios”.
The CPP had been challenged in court by 27 states after it was launched in 2015.
Gina McCarthy, the EPA Administrator under Obama who set the main directions for the design of the CPP, said: "A proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan without any time line or even a commitment to propose a rule to reduce carbon pollution isn't a step forward”.
“It's a wholesale retreat from EPA's legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change”.
Hal Quinn, Director of the National Mining Association lobby group welcomed the news, by saying that “the Clean Power Plan represented an unlawful attempt to transform the nation’s power grid”.
Environmental advocacy groups have vowed to fight the announcement in court.
Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), said: "Now the public has an opportunity to weigh in, as EPA is required to accept public comment on the proposed repeal and a discussion paper on a replacement”.
"In addition, NRDC expects to take EPA to court when the Clean Power Plan repeal is made final”.
Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, said that President Trump and Pruitt are launching "one of the most egregious attacks" on public health and climate safety.
He added: "No matter who is in the White House, the EPA is legally required to limit dangerous carbon pollution, and the Clean Power Plan is an achievable, affordable way to do that”.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who announced that it would donate $15 million to support the operations of the UNFCCC after President Trump announced the US’s withdrawal, twitted: "The EPA can repeal the Clean Power Plan but not the laws of economics”.
"This won't revive coal or stop the US from reaching our Paris goal."
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