The Trump administration’s move to begin dismantling the Clean Power Plan, a policy intended to curb carbon emissions that contribute to human-induced climate change, will not lead to a quick repeal. E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt’s announcement is simply the first of many steps the agency must make; proposing a rule to undo a regulation takes the same time-consuming, painstaking, research-based, legally-defensible process used to adopt the very rule targeted for elimination.
Finalized in 2015, the plan mainly targets coal-fired power plants that account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. However, it remains on hold under a Supreme Court stay pending the outcome of a legal challenge made by many states. The regulation requires existing power plants to cut harmful emissions compared to 2005 levels. By 2030, the emission reductions would be 32% for carbon, 90% for sulfur dioxide, and 72% for nitrogen oxides. The Clean Power Plan represents an important opportunity to accelerate clean energy progress, creating thousands of new jobs and safeguarding our health and environment for future generations.
The Clean Power Plan was developed over several years to cut “significant amounts of power plant carbon pollution and the pollutants that cause the soot and smog that harm health, while advancing clean energy innovation, development and deployment, and laying the foundation for the long-term strategy needed to tackle the threat of climate change,” according to the Obama administration’s E.P.A. website.
“Repealing the Clean Power Plan is a reckless retreat that will hurt our children and those most vulnerable to the health impacts from climate change,” said Nicole Rom, Executive Director of Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. “The clean energy transition is already underway, which gives us hope that this backwards move will not stop the forward momentum towards cleaner and cost-effective clean energy solutions.”