Sen. Schatz Opposes Move to Repeal Clean Power Plan

October 10, 2017, 8:00 AM HST · Updated October 10, 11:25 AM

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt today signed a measure to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2015 Clean Power Plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The plan would have pushed states away from coal toward sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions.

An EPA statement said that repealing the measure “will also facilitate the development of U.S. energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources.”

The repeal proposal fulfills a promise President Donald Trump made to eradicate his predecessor’s environmental legacy.

Eliminating the Clean Power Plan makes it less likely that the U.S. can fulfill its promise as part of the Paris climate agreement to decrease emissions that are warming the planet and contributing to heat waves and sea-level rise.

“Once again, the administration has put partisan ideology above the health of the American people, our economy and our planet,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), co-chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force. “Like their failed attempts to undermine clean water and methane rules, this effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan has no basis in law and will absolutely be challenged in court.

“Climate change is the challenge of our generation,” Sen. Schatz continued. “It’s our obligation as the indispensable nation to lead and take action. The administration’s short-sighted decision today abdicates that role. But in the absence of leadership from the White House, momentum behind clean energy is growing as states, cities and the private sector continue to move ahead. Our commitment to fighting climate change won’t be weakened. We will continue to take action, with or without the administration’s help.”

Coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants are responsible for about one-third of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. When the Clean Power Plan was unveiled in 2015, it was expected to cut power sector emissions 32% by 2030, relative to 2005.

Environmental groups and several states plan to challenge the proposed repeal in federal courts, opposing Pruitt’s move on both scientific and economic grounds.

Industry groups said that they would prefer that Pruitt replace the Clean Power Plan with a more modest regulation on power plants in order to abate  court challenges.

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