(October 9, 2017) – Today during a speech in Hazard, KY, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he plans to sign tomorrow a proposal for EPA to withdraw the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and start the process to withdraw the rules under the CPP. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also spoke at the Hazard meeting. The CPP is under litigation and is currently stayed while the Fourth Circuit Court decides on whether the Obama EPA extended it powers beyond those authorized by Congress. In the new EPA action, the Agency will argue that the CPP “…exceeds the EPA’s statutory authority.”
A copy of the EPA draft proposal was leaked earlier this week. The public will be given opportunity to comment on the EPA action and may request a public hearing if needed.
When passed by EPA in October 2015, this rule relied heavily on reducing CO2 emissions from coal burning boilers and relied on carbon capture and storage as a demonstrated technology to allow coal plants to continue to operate. Industry has argued among many other points that CO2 capture and storage was not demonstrated as an economical and effective technology. When taken as a compliance requirement, the CO2 limits on combustion would have all but eliminated coal fired electric generation stations. With the elimination of the CPP, EPA now can focus on an “all of the above energy strategy” that does not jeopardize the reliability of the grid system nor make the US too dependent on natural gas or nuclear for base load generation.