The Leaflet: It’s Lights Out for the Clean Power Plan

Published October 13, 2017

While speaking before an audience in Kentucky’s coal country on Monday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt reiterated the Obama-era “war on coal is over” and announced the Trump administration will scrap the Clean Power Plan (CPP). CPP was a keystone of the Obama administration’s effort to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, especially coal-fired plants. One day later, in Washington, DC, Pruitt formally signed the proposed rule.

Since its enactment in 2015, CPP has faced significant legal challenges, notably in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, the latter which issued a stay on the implementation of the plan in February 2016.

Pruitt’s decision will be welcomed by the 28 states and more than 120 companies and organizations that challenged the constitutional authority of the EPA to implement CPP. Some of the 20 states that continued work on their CPP compliance plans after the Supreme Court stay are expected to continue with their plans, including California, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington State.

Many energy and environment experts, including numerous experts who will be speaking at The Heartland Institute’s upcoming America First Energy Conference, applauded Pruitt’s decision in a Heartland press release.

“The war on fossil fuels is nearing an end,” said Heartland Institute President Tim Huelskamp, a former congressman from Kansas. “This is a wise, science-based decision by Administrator Scott Pruitt and President Donald Trump. The real winners here are not only coal miners and coal states, but all those Americans who simply can’t afford massive increases in their energy bills as a result of the Clean Power Plan.”

Heartland Research Fellow Isaac Orr says CPP would never have fulfilled its primary purpose of curbing global warming. “CPP would have had zero measurable effects on future global temperatures. … CPP would have averted a mere 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100, an amount too small to accurately measure with even the most sophisticated scientific equipment,” Orr said.

Commenting on the economic consequences that would have resulted from the implementation of CPP, Heartland Policy Analyst Tim Benson said, “The Clean Power Plan was a massive regulation that would have raised electricity prices by double digits each year and cost consumers up to $40 billion annually.”

States should continue to move away from implementing CPP and instead focus on policies that are pro-environment, pro-energy, and pro-jobs.


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