President signs executive order to review Clean Power Plan

March 31, 2017

President Trump signed an executive order March 28 directing the Environmental Protection Agency to begin reviewing the Clean Power Plan as well as other greenhouse gas regulations for the power sector.

The order calls for the heads of federal agencies to review regulations, orders and policies “that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources.”

President Trump said, “This is about bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams, and making America wealthy again.”

He also said it would return power to the states.

“States and local communities know what is best for them.”

Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the American Public Power Association, attended the signing ceremony along with members of Trump’s cabinet and coal miners.

In a released statement, APPA said it “supports President Trump’s executive order calling for a reexamination of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.”

“Few disagree that these rules envisioned broad and transformative changes to the electricity industry. As the voice of utilities that are units of state and local government, the Association firmly believes that states should maintain the authority to plan and implement generation and energy policies that are suitable for their circumstances.”

APPA previously voiced its legal objection to the rule for requiring utilities to fundamentally alter the way they generate electricity noting, “In some cases, utilities would have been forced to abandon functional power plants while continuing to pay them off.”

After the order was signed, the Department of Justice asked a federal appeals court to place a hold on all litigation pending before it over the EPA rule.

Under the executive order, titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” the EPA has 45 days to submit a plan to carry out a review, not only of the Clean Power Plan, but of all existing regulations, orders and policies “that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources.”

More than two dozen states are currently fighting the EPA rule in court. In February of last year, the Supreme Court voted to put the Clean Power Plan on hold while the court reviewed it.

However, a final rule such as the Clean Power Plan, because it went through a lengthy public review process before being issued in final form, cannot easily be undone.

Environmental groups have vowed to fight the Trump administration’s effort to kill the Clean Power Plan and more than a dozen states are on record defending it.

Heartland has advocated against the Clean Power Plan and provided comments during the public comment period noting both the legal challenges of the plan as well as the consequences of attempting to do too much too fast.

Featured image: EPA Headquarters; Photo Credit Flickr – NRDC