Draft roll­back of cli­mate plan signed in US

The Phnom Penh Post - - WORLD -

THE head of the US En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency signed on Tues­day a draft de­ci­sion to roll back Obama-era mea­sures to counter cli­mate change.

Re­peal­ing the Clean Power Plan was a cam­paign prom­ise by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and fol­lows his de­ci­sion in June to with­draw from the 2015 Paris agree­ment to cap global warm­ing.

“After re­view­ing the CPP, EPA has pro­posed to de­ter­mine that the Obama-era reg­u­la­tion ex­ceeds the Agency’s statu­tory author­ity,” an EPA state­ment said. “Re­peal­ing the CPP will also fa­cil­i­tate the devel­op­ment of US en­ergy re­sources and re­duce un­nec­es­sary reg­u­la­tory bur­dens as­so­ci­ated with the devel­op­ment of those re­sources.”

To the anger of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt an­nounced to Ken­tucky coal min­ers on Mon­day that the US would pull out of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s plan, which had sought for the first time to re­duce car­bon emis­sions in the United States from power plants.

It aimed to re­duce national elec­tric­ity sec­tor emis­sions an es­ti­mated 32 per­cent be­low 2005 lev­els by 2030, lead­ing to the clo­sure of the old­est and most pol­lut­ing coal-fired power sta­tions. The goal was in line with com­mit­ments made by Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der the Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment.

Obama’s EPA said his cli­mate plan would pro­vide bil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of health ben­e­fits and re­duce con­sumers’ longterm power bills.

Pres­i­dent Trump is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der in March to block the Clean Power Plan. It called on the EPA to re­view whether it over­stepped the author­ity of gov­ern­ment when it called for stricter emis­sions lim­its.

Sev­eral Repub­li­can-dom­i­nated states launched ju­di­cial chal­lenges to the leg­is­la­tion and the US Supreme Court in Fe­bru­ary last year halted its im­ple­men­ta­tion un­til courts could rule on its le­gal­ity.

“We are com­mit­ted to right­ing the wrongs of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion by clean­ing the reg­u­la­tory slate,” Pruitt said in the EPA state­ment.

Pruitt, 49, is a Repub­li­can and known fos­sil-fuel ally who re­peat­edly sued the EPA when he was Ok­la­homa’s state at­tor­ney gen­eral. He is also a scep­tic of cli­mate change.

His depart­ment says re­peal­ing the CPP will save $33 bil­lion by 2030.

The pub­lic has 60 days to sub­mit com­ments be­fore the adop­tion of a fi­nal text.

Coal-fired en­ergy ac­counted for no more than 21 per­cent of US power gen­er­a­tion in 2015, be­hind 32 per­cent for nat­u­ral gas and 28 per­cent for petroleum prod­ucts, the En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion says.

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