EPA head: Climate report won’t impact Obama rule repeal

The federal government’s comprehensive Climate Science Special Report won’t change the Trump administration’s rollback of former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) head.

“We’re taking the very necessary step to evaluate our authority under the Clean Air Act and we’ll take steps that are required to issue a subsequent rule. That’s our focus,” Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: OPEC strikes deal to boost crude production | Pruitt sent one work email outside EPA in first 10 months | Perry, oil execs head to gas conference EPA: Pruitt sent just one email to an outside address during first 10 months Trump is the GOP's midterm Katrina MORE told USA Today in an interview published Wednesday.

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“Does this report have any bearing on that? No it doesn’t. It doesn’t impact the withdrawal and it doesn’t impact the replacement.”

It was Pruitt’s first statement on the climate report since its release on Friday.

The report’s conclusions directly contrast with Trump administration officials' comments on a number of fronts, including the degree to which human activity, via greenhouse gases, is responsible for climate change.

“This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” it found. “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

Pruitt and other Trump administration officials say that climate change is happening and human activity is somewhat to blame, but no one can confidently say the degree of that contribution.

Without that confidence, Pruitt and his colleagues say it is irresponsible to implement expensive climate policies.

“Obviously the climate is changing and has always changed, [and] humans contribute to that. Measuring with exact precision is very challenging,” he told USA Today. “So I think the report [is] good to encourage an open dialogue on this.”

Pruitt formally proposed last month to repeal the Clean Power Plan, fulfilling a key campaign promise by Trump, and the agency is now taking public comments on the proposal.