President Trump has signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at dismantling former President Obama’s signature climate policy, the Clean Power Plan. The regulation finalized by the former president, and under review by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, sets state-specific carbon dioxide limits for existing power plant fleets. The rule, opposed by the Kentucky Chamber, could cause premature closure of existing coal-fired power plants and higher electricity costs.
The order directs the EPA to review the Clean Power Plan as well as the emission standards established for new power plants which will be repealed or changed. The standard set for new coal-fired power plants is so low that it requires carbon capture and storage/use in order to build a new plant. The order also requires the EPA and Dept. of Interior to review new methane emission regulations enforced on oil and gas drilling operations.
The order also reverses several carbon-related policies put in place by former President Obama. For example, federal agencies are no longer required to consider climate change when reviewing the environmental impact of new projects. It also calls for a new analysis of the social cost of carbon which was fundamental to the cost-benefit analysis of climate change regulations including the Clean Power Plan.
In a nod of support for domestic energy production, the president’s order lifts the moratorium on new coal mining leases on federal land. The president’s order also calls on EPA Administrator Pruitt to provide guidance to federal agencies to assist them with reviewing their policies’ impacts on domestic energy production.
In response to the president’s executive order, Dave Adkisson Ky. Chamber President and CEO had this to say, “We applaud the president’s commitment to supporting domestic energy production and ensuring affordable energy costs. Reliable, affordable energy is critical to Kentucky’s manufacturing economy, and the Clean Power Plan and other related rules place Kentucky at an economic disadvantage.”
The order does not start the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.