Trump signs executive order - Smart Energy Decisions

Industrial, Regulation, Utilities, Regulation  -  March 28, 2017

Trump signs executive order to roll back climate protections, vows to end 'war on coal'

Following weeks of speculation regarding President Donald Trump's plans for an executive order aimed at unwinding Obama's climate regulations, the president on March 28 made it official in signing that order, joined by a group of coal miners, at the U.S. EPA. 

An overview of the order provided to the media the night before revealed that Trump's executive order would include a directive that the EPA begin a process to rescind the Clean Power Plan, along with other Obama-era federal environmental measures such as a moratorium on coal leasing and emissions standards for methane produced by oil and gas production, according to a report from SNL Energy

The Clean Power Plan, which had been tied up in the courts, sought to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants, was generally viewed as the cornerstone of former President Barack Obama's climate legacy. 

"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal," Trump said in comments ahead of the official signing, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper wrote

He said he was ending a “crushing attack” on the industry and paring back regulations that impeded job creation but that he still believed his administration could ensure clean water and clean energy. “We’re getting rid of the bad ones,” he said, adding that his administration had taken other steps to boost energy production, including expediting approvals of two controversial oil pipelines, Dakota Access and Keystone XL.

The policies under the Obama administration's Climate Action Plan, which Trump's order attempts to unwind, are also considered to be core components of how the U.S. could meet its international climate commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, sustainability nonprofit Ceres said in a statement responding to the president. 

"Today's announcement, while not unexpected, is a clear step in the wrong direction and runs counter to the more than 365 U.S. companies and investors who publicly supported the Clean Power Plan when it was announced in 2015, as well as the more than 1,000 companies and investors who back the recently released the Business Backs Low-Carbon USA statement," Ceres President Mindy Lubber said. "Companies and investors from across the country support the Clean Power Plan and other low-carbon policies currently under attack because they are precisely the type of consistent, forward-thinking frameworks the business community wants and needs to invest and grow with confidence and certainty."

Trump has previously called climate change a hoax, and promised during his campaign to withdraw U.S. support of the Paris climate agreement. Since being elected, however, Trump has walked back his language on the Paris agreement, telling The New York Times on Nov. 22 that he had an "open mind" to it. 

 Editor's note: Ceres is a Smart Energy Decisions content partner

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