Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trump Administration to Terminate Obama's Climate Plan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trump Administration to Terminate Obama's Climate Plan

Article excerpt

HAZARD, Ky. * The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that he will sign a new rule overriding the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

"The war on coal is over," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared in the coal mining state of Kentucky. He said no federal agency "should ever use its authority" to "declare war on any sector of our economy."

It was not immediately clear if Pruitt would seek to issue a new rule without congressional approval, which Republicans had criticized the Obama administration for doing. Pruitt's rule wouldn't become final for months and is highly likely to face a raft of legal challenges.

For Pruitt, getting rid of the Clean Power Plan will mark the culmination of a fight he began as attorney general of Oklahoma. Pruitt was among about two dozen attorneys general who sued to stop President Barack Obama's 2014 push to limit carbon emissions, stymieing the limits from ever taking effect.

Closely aligned with the oil and gas industry in his home state, Pruitt rejects the consensus of scientists that man-man emissions from burning fossil fuels are the primary driver of global climate change.

President Donald Trump, who appointed Pruitt and shares his skepticism of established climate science, promised to kill the Clean Power Plan during the 2016 campaign as part of his broader pledge to revive the nation's struggling coal mines.

In his order Tuesday, Pruitt is expected to declare that the Obama-era rule exceeded federal law by setting emissions standards that power plants could not reasonably meet.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., long an opponent of the power plan, applauded the move and thanked Trump "for delivering on its promise to provide relief for low and middle-income families that would have been hit hardest by these regulations."

Blunt has argued the plan would have disproportionately affected Missouri and other states that get larger percentages of electrical power from coal.

But Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp called the administration's move "a reckless retreat that will hurt our children and grandchildren. The real world results will be more asthma attacks, more health problems, more air pollution, and a more dangerous future for our families," Krupp said, citing EPA studies showing that Obama's plan, when implemented, could have saved lives by reducing asthma and other diseases.

Pruitt appeared at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at Whayne Supply, a Hazard, Ky., company that sells coal-mining supplies. The store's owners have laid off about 60 percent of its workers in recent years.

While cheering the demise of the Clean Power Plan as a way to stop the bleeding, McConnell conceded most of those lost jobs are never coming back. …

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