Energy & Environment

EPA to argue Obama climate rule violates law: report

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly set to repeal the Obama administration's landmark climate rule for power plants, arguing that it violates federal law.

Bloomberg, citing agency documents, reported that the EPA is planning to target the legality of the central tenant of the Clean Power Plan: that it directs states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions however they saw fit.

Under the rule, the federal government set reduction carbon targets for states and then asked them to find ways to hit those targets on their own, rather than by regulating a single source of pollution.

That means some states are planning to replace carbon-heavy coal power plants with cleaner energy such as natural gas or renewables.

But the EPA is now set to say that a regulation affecting the broader electricity sector is outside the agency's purview.

The EPA will argue that "the Clean Power Plan departed from this practice by instead setting carbon dioxide emission guidelines for existing power plants that can only realistically be effected by measures that cannot be employed to, for, or at a particular source," the documents say.

The argument is similar to one pursued by the Clean Power Plan's most ardent opponents, who sued against the proposal when it was finalized in 2015. That group includes current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who was then attorney general of Oklahoma.

Though the Supreme Court has frozen implementation of the rule, a federal court has not ruled on the validity of the claims from the attorneys general.

Officials will announce their intention to repeal the Clean Power Plan soon and solicit comments on how to replace it, if at all, according to reports.

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