Gut­ting cli­mate change poli­cies

Here’s how Trump will try to evis­cer­ate Obama’s pro­grams.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Juliet Eilperin

wash­ing­ton» Pres­i­dent Barack Obama tried to in­te­grate cli­mate change into ev­ery facet of fed­eral de­ci­sion-mak­ing; Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump aims to pull it out by its roots.

En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt said Sun­day on ABC’s “This Week” that an ex­ec­u­tive or­der the pres­i­dent will sign Tues­day “will ad­dress the past ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­fort to kill jobs through­out the coun­try through the Clean Power Plan,” a ref­er­ence to a reg­u­la­tion lim­it­ing green­house gases emit­ted by elec­tric util­i­ties.

But it does much more than that. Here’s a snap­shot of what’s in, and out, of the di­rec­tive, based on the lat­est draft. What’s in it:

• In­struc­tions to the EPA to re­write reg­u­la­tions re­strict­ing car­bon emis­sions from both new and ex­ist­ing power plants. These rules — par­tic­u­larly the one af­fect­ing ex­ist­ing plants, many of which are coal-fired — lie at the cen­ter of Obama’s ef­fort to curb the na­tion’s car­bon out­put. The lim­its on ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties aim to cut car­bon pol­lu­tion by about onethird by 2030, com­pared with 2005 lev­els, and the rule is sub­ject to a pend­ing law­suit be­fore the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the D.C. Cir­cuit. The or­der would in­struct At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions to

ask the D.C. Cir­cuit to hold the law­suit in abeyance while the EPA re­vises the rules, a process that will take more than a year and in­evitably will face a court chal­lenge of its own.

• Lift a mora­to­rium on fed­eral coal leas­ing. Trump will di­rect the In­te­rior Depart­ment’s Bureau of Land Man­age­ment to lift the freeze on coal leas­ing on its land, which has been in ef­fect since De­cem­ber 2015. In Jan­uary, In­te­rior pro­posed that the pro­gram guid­ing coal ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion across 570 mil­lion pub­licly owned acres be up­dated to fac­tor in the cli­mate ef­fect of such ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­vide a big­ger re­turn for U.S. tax­pay­ers. This will not have a ma­jor im­pact on do­mes­tic coal pro­duc­tion, be­cause the gov­ern­ment has sold one set of coal leases since Oc­to­ber 2012 and has es­ti­mated that it has granted leases that are equiv­a­lent to a 20year sup­ply of coal. But Pruitt told ABC that this and other poli­cies in the or­der con­sti­tute “a prom­ise to the Amer­i­can peo­ple — say­ing we can put peo­ple back to work and be pro-en­vi­ron­ment as well.”

• Abol­ish fed­eral guid­ance in­struct­ing agen­cies to in­cor­po­rate cli­mate change into fed­eral de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Obama or­dered agen­cies to in­clude cli­mate change as a con­sid­er­a­tion when they con­ducted re­views un­der the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Pol­icy Act, a sweep­ing law that in­formed any fed­eral de­ci­sion that had a sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. This will be elim­i­nated out­right.

• Jet­ti­son the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “so­cial cost of car­bon.” The or­der would dis­solve the task force that cal­cu­lated what has be­come known as “the so­cial cost of car­bon” and re­vert to the 2003 stan­dard used un­der the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion. The cur­rent cal­cu­lus, which is set at $36 per ton of car­bon diox­ide, aims to cap­ture the neg­a­tive con­se­quences of al­low­ing green­house gas emis­sions to con­tinue to rise and is ap­plied to any reg­u­la­tions that have a cli­mate im­pact.

• Pro­mote oil and gas de­vel­op­ment on In­te­rior’s lands, in­clud­ing na­tional wildlife refuges. The or­der would make it eas­ier to flare meth­ane on oil and gas op­er­a­tions on fed­eral land. In Novem­ber the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a rule curb­ing such “fugi­tive” emis­sions of the po­tent green­house gas, which the House has voted to over­turn. The or­der also would make it eas­ier to con­duct en­ergy ex­plo­ration on land man­aged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice.

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