EPA Announces Clean Power Plan Repeal 

OCTOBER 10, 2017

At an event in Hazard, Kentucky accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the Agency would publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register, repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP).

“The war on coal is over,” Pruitt said. “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 than Hazard, Kentucky.”

EPA had tipped this announcement in a court filing last month in the case West Virginia v. EPA, when it stated it “expects to sign a [new] proposed rule” this fall on its CPP because the current regulation “exceeds the statutory authority provided under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.”

After Pruitt made his announcement, the attorneys general from Massachusetts and New York stated that they intend to file a lawsuit once the proposed repeal rule is published.

Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general said in a statement, ”Fuel-burning power plants are one of our nation’s largest sources of climate change pollution, and common-sense science — and the law — dictate that EPA take action to cut these emissions.”

The CPP was promulgated in August 2015, instructing the states to develop plans that would provide for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-powered electrical generating units or “power plants.”

During the Obama administration, EPA said it had the authority to promulgate the rule under Clean Air Act Section 111(d). Section 111(d) states, “The Administrator shall prescribe regulations which shall establish a procedure . . . under which each State shall submit to the Administrator a plan which (A) establishes standards of performance for any existing source for any air pollutant . . . and (B) provides for the implementation and enforcement of such standards of performance”.

The CPP rule was challenged in court by several states’ attorneys general and a group of businesses and trade associations. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently granted a stay, halting the CPP’s implementation pending the resolution of the lower court review.

EPA’s decision to repeal the CPP follows President Trump’s executive order directive shortly after taking office, directing EPA to review the CPP regulation and decide whether to “suspend, rescind, or revise it.”