Climate rule rollback expected this fall

Source: Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, September 8, 2017

The Trump administration’s proposal to scrap or replace the embattled Clean Power Plan is expected to roll out this fall, U.S. EPA said today.

In a status report to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, government lawyers said they expect EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to sign a proposed rule reconsidering the Obama-era climate measure this fall.

The proposal is currently at the White House Office of Management and Budget, where the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is conducting an interagency review process. OIRA will then send the proposal back to EPA for any revisions before the agency finalizes its plan. The proposal will then be published in the Federal Register and be open for public comment.

The agency’s court filing also notes that a recent classification of the proposal as a “long term action” in the Trump administration’s Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions was a mistake, as that classification applies only to actions expected to take more than a year to complete.

The D.C. Circuit last month froze litigation over the Clean Power Plan for the second time, declining to weigh the merits of the case for now while EPA rethinks the rule (Energywire, Aug. 9). The agency’s reconsideration process officially began this spring, after President Trump issued an executive order designed to support energy independence.

EPA has kept details of the proposal under wraps, but many observers expect the agency to develop a narrow replacement rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Alternatively, the agency could choose to simply scrap the Clean Power Plan and not replace it (Climatewire, Aug. 24).