Environmental groups denounce Trump override of climate plan

Erik Calonius  Documerica

Erik Calonius Documerica

The Trump administration is making "a wholesale retreat from EPA's legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change", said former Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy, the architect of Obama's Clean Power Plan.

The Obama administration designed the Clean Power Plan to lower carbon emissions from existing power plants by 2030 to 32 percent below 2005 levels.

"I'm excited to be with you here today because it's not just to visit about all the things we're doing which I think is very, very important for this country", Pruitt said Monday morning at an event in Hazard, Kentucky.

A spokeswoman for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declined to comment Friday on the authenticity of the leaked document but said the Obama administration "pushed the bounds of their authority so far" that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay to prevent the Clean Power Plan from taking effect.

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"90 some nearly 100 coal plants that has already been imploded by Obama's rules", said Clark Pergrem, Manager/Operator of NFC Mining and Onyx Coal Sales.

"Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers". "And that's wrong", he said in remarks aired by Fox News.

The decision comes after President Trump in late March ordered a review of the controversial program, which was put on hold more than a year ago by the Supreme Court amid legal challenges from, among others, Pruitt himself. They add, however, that they would prefer replacing the Clean Power Plan with a new, more modest regulation on power plants in order to blunt any court challenges. Pruitt sued the EPA 13 other times in his capacity as Oklahoma's attorney general for the agency's efforts to regulate mercury, smog and other forms of pollution.

On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to bring back coal mining jobs and dismantle Obama's environmental policy, declaring climate change a "hoax".

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Prior to the finalization of the rules in August 2015, power plants - which account for almost 40 percent of carbon emissions - "were allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere", said the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Clean Power Plan, created by executive order in 2015, is the key component of the U.S.'s Paris Agreement pledge to combat climate change.

Under the CPP, states must develop and implement plans that ensure power plants in their state - either as single plants or as a collective group - achieve goals for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions between 2022 and 2029, and final CO2 emission performance rates by 2030.

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