Pruitt: EPA to replace Obama climate rule

Pruitt: EPA to replace Obama climate rule
© Greg Nash

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is committing to pursue a replacement climate change rule for power plants after repealing the Obama administration’s regulation on the matter, agency head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Watchdog opens investigation into Interior chief | Judge halts Pruitt truck pollution rule decision | Winners, losers in EPA, Interior spending bill amendments Sanders endures press grilling over Russia Court blocks EPA policy against enforcing truck pollution rule MORE told a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel on Thursday.

“We are going to be introducing a replacement rule too, in place of the Clean Power Plan,” Pruitt told Rep. Raul RuizRaul RuizCongress must act to ensure access to air medical services House GOP highlights 16 ‘On the Radar’ candidates When it comes to treating depression, 'step therapy' is a costly misstep MORE (D-Calif.) in response to questioning about the EPA’s plans to repeal the Obama rule.

Pruitt has previously only committed to consider such a replacement rule. When the EPA proposed the repeal in October, it said it would soon seek formal comment on replacing the Clean Power Plan.

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Numerous business groups opposed to the Obama rule have been pushing Pruitt to write a replacement. They’ve argued that a replacement would shield companies and the federal government from future litigation on climate and fulfill the EPA’s obligation to regulate power plants’ carbon dioxide.

But the Trump administration’s climate rule is likely to be far weaker than Obama’s, which sought a 32 percent reduction in the power sector’s carbon emissions.

Pruitt has taken the position that many of the provisions of Obama’s rule were illegal under the Clean Air Act, notably that it required emissions reductions based on a power utility’s ability to shift generationally away from coal plants and toward lower-emitting sources.

The Trump administration’s rule is also likely to let states decide their levels of emissions cuts, without the EPA dictating levels.