Hogan administration criticizes EPA plans to repeal Clean Power Plan

Source: By By Rachel Siegel, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018

Maryland’s environmental secretary is condemning the Trump administration’s moves to repeal a regulation aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan.

In a letter sent Monday to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles said states need federal support to tackle regional and global climate challenges.

He pointed to Maryland’s strides in addressing climate change, including legislation requiring a 40 percent in-state reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an investment of $44 million for ­clean-energy products, $3 million of which will go toward green-jobs training.

In a state where Democratic lawmakers have pressed Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to more forcefully reject President Trump’s climate policies, the letter marks the latest push among Maryland’s Republican leadership in support of green-energy standards.

“The Clean Power Plan is not perfect, and it creates some winners and losers,” the letter from Grumbles said. “Nonetheless . . . states have demonstrated that carefully designed carbon dioxide (CO2) emission limits on electricity generation can make states winners both environmentally and economically.”

The letter comes three months after Pruitt moved to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate rule that Pruitt and others in the Trump administration have deemed an assault on the nation’s coal industry. The plan aimed to reduce carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants by 32 percent from 2005 output levels by 2030.

Hogan has resisted calls from Maryland Democrats that he speak out against Trump, who remains deeply unpopular in Maryland. Hogan faced acute pressure to do so after Trump announced in June that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

But Hogan also has touted his own environmental record. He has supported measures promoting electric cars and upheld Maryland’s part in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a collaboration among nine states to cap the amount of carbon pollution emitted from power plants.

Grumbles’s letter cited the regional initiative as “an economically beneficial way” to reduce emissions from power plants. Participating states have reduced their emissions faster than the rest of the country, Grumbles wrote, while growing faster economically.

The secretary cautioned against a repeal of the Clean Power Plan without a strong replacement and said the EPA should hold a public hearing in Annapolis or the Baltimore region to hear from residents, businesses and communities that would be affected if the regulations were rolled back.

Pruitt said in October that “any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”