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: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election EPA pushes forward plan to increase ethanol mix in gasoline Trump: The solitary executive 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 RuizGrijalva calls for ‘unvarnished’ investigation into death of Guatemalan girl at border Over 30 cities oppose Trump proposal on immigration benefits Congress must act to ensure access to air medical services 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.