First step to replace climate rule coming this month — EPA

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Trump administration plans to take its first formal step toward replacing the Clean Power Plan by the end of December.

U.S. EPA is expected to announce that it’s drafting a replacement rule even as it continues the process of repealing the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule, which aimed to slash greenhouse gas emissions at power plants.

“The plan is before the end of the year,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said of the anticipated release of the advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

The notice will reiterate the administration’s arguments against the Clean Power Plan and solicit comments for what a replacement rule could look like.

“The Clean Power Plan was flawed. It attempted to regulate and dictate the nation’s energy mix, to make decisions for state officials about what their energy mixes should be. It was clearly outside the scope of Section 111(d) [of the Clean Air Act], so we want to move forward, but we want to take comment on a range of legal options,” said a senior administration official.

The notice also suggests “that Congress intended 111(d) to mean that the technologies to reduce emissions must be applied to individual facilities,” that official said.

The Trump administration is widely believed to be seeking an “inside the fence line” rule targeting specific plants, a move that’s supported by many business groups that argued against scrapping the rule entirely. The Obama-era rule took a broader “beyond the fence line” approach by allowing emissions reductions by adding more natural gas or renewable sources to the grid.

The notice is expected to be followed sometime next year by an official proposed rule laying out the Trump administration’s plans to replace the Clean Power Plan.

“We are going to be introducing a replacement rule,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week on Capitol Hill.