Trump EPA eases standards for coal ash disposal
Red states ask Trump for quick action against climate rule
Officials from 24 conservative states want President-elect Donald Trump to take action on his first day in office against President Obama's climate change rule for power plants.
The officials, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), wrote to Trump Thursday with a four-part plan to undo the Clean Power Plan and ensure that a future president could not implement a similar policy in the future.
"The Clean Power Plan is an unlawful attempt to force states to fundamentally alter electricity generation in their states by shifting from existing fossil-fueled power plants to other methods of generation preferred by [the Environmental Protection Agency]," the state representatives wrote.
"The incoming administration and Congress now have the opportunity to withdraw this unlawful rule and prevent adoption of a similar rule in the future."
The first step in the process is for Trump to issue an executive order on Jan. 20 to instruct the EPA not to enforce the rule.
While the federal government usually needs to go through an in-depth and time-consuming regulatory process to repeal regulations - and the states ask Trump to do that down the line - Morrisey and his colleagues argue that since the Clean Power Plan is illegal, Trump can issue an order to stop its implementation immediately.
"The order should explain that it is the administration's view that the rule is unlawful and that EPA lacks authority to enforce it," they wrote. "The executive order is necessary to send an immediate and strong message to states and regulated entities that the administration will not enforce the rule."
The letter also asks Trump to review the ongoing litigation over the rule and to work with Congress to pass legislation preventing a future president from writing a similar rule.
The rule mandates a 32 percent cut in the power sector's carbon dioxide emissions, through cuts assigned to each state. The Supreme Court put it on hold earlier this year pending the court cases brought by Morrisey, other attorneys general and energy companies.
Trump pledged on the campaign trail to repeal the Clean Power Plan and all other Obama actions fighting climate change.
He has chosen Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma's Republican attorney general and one of the leaders in the litigation against the climate rule, to be EPA administrator.
Pruitt did not sign on to Thursday's letter.