The Trump administration on Tuesday will take action to ax the Clean Power Plan, a major component of former President Barack Obama’s efforts to curb climate change.
Speaking at a Monday event in Kentucky with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said he will sign a proposed rule Tuesday in Washington “to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan from the past administration and thus begin the effort to withdraw that rule.”
“Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers,” Pruitt said, according to Reuters. “The past administration was unapologetic. They were using every bit of power, every bit of authority, to use the EPA to pick winners and losers in how we generate electricity in this country. And that’s wrong.”
The Clean Power Plan, finalized in 2015, targets existing power plants and involves state-by-state emissions targets, but was put on hold last year by the Supreme Court. It aims for a 32 percent cut in carbon pollution from the power sector by 2030, compared with levels measured in 2005.
According to a repeal proposal obtained by The Associated Press last week, the Trump administration is expected to say the Clean Power Plan exceeds what is permissible under federal law by setting unreasonable emissions standards.
The administration also will seek public comment on curbing emissions, but will not unveil an immediate replacement for the plan, according to the AP.
Pruitt, an opponent of the Clean Power Plan while serving as attorney general of Oklahoma, has rejected that human-caused emissions are the primary cause of climate change.
The expected move to withdraw the plan would follow President Donald Trump’s announcement in June that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and is certain to be met with harsh criticism from plan proponents and environmental advocates.
“If Administrator Pruitt plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, that would be a complete abdication of EPA’s legal responsibility to protect our children’s lungs from dangerous smokestack pollution and their homes from climate-destabilizing extreme weather,” Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp said in a statement last week. “A repeal-without-replace effort would completely ignore the vast toll that power plant pollution takes on our climate security, and would be an unconscionable abandonment of efforts to protect the health of our children and communities.”