Days after unveiling a blueprint for rolling back several Obama-era regulations into 2018 and beyond, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it is considering a future rule to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants, and it wants public input into what its role -- and the role of state regulatory agencies -- should be.
In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) issued Monday, the EPA said that while it has proposed an outright repeal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the agency also "continues to consider the possibility of replacing certain aspects of the CPP in coordination with a proposed revision." Public input would get to the heart of "what the EPA should include" in a future proposed rulemaking, "including comments on aspects of the states' and the EPA's role in that process."
The Trump administration first targeted the CPP last March, when the president issued an executive order calling for, among other things, a review of the CPP. EPA followed up with an announcement in October that it would ultimately repeal the CPP. Last week, a biannual plan listing hundreds of rules in various stages of rulemaking at many federal agencies, including the EPA, showed a final rule to repeal the CPPis set for next October.
Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, GOP and energy industry allies have been critical of several actions taken during the Obama administration on climate change, including the use of the "social cost of carbon" methodology for crafting regulation. They have also taken issue with the Obama regime using a 2007 court case, Massachusetts v. EPA, as the basis for regulating GHG emissions, specifically, through Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.
According to the EPA, 150 entities have filed legal challenges to the CPP, including 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric cooperatives and three labor unions.
"Consistent with our commitment to the rule of law, we've already set in motion an assessment of the previous administration's questionable legal basis in our proposed repeal of the CPP," said Pruitt. "With a clean slate, we can now move forward to provide regulatory certainty.
"Today's move ensures adequate and early opportunity for public comment from all stakeholders about next steps the agency might take to limit GHG from stationary sources, in a way that properly stays within the law, and the bounds of the authority provided to EPA by Congress."
EPA plans to accept public comments on the ANPRM for 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.