Trump Takes Aim At A Centerpiece Of Obama's Environmental Legacy

After several false starts, President Trump is tomorrow expected to sign a sweeping executive order created to roll back a raft of Obama era climate policies and mobilise fresh investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.

Pruitt previously said "the President is keeping his promise to the American people this week with respect to the Executive Order coming down on Tuesday", calling it "pro growth and pro environment".

So it shouldn't come as any surprise that the new administration has embarked on ambitious plans to undo every vestige of President Obama's efforts to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent climate-change gas.

The EPA plan is meant to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired and natural gas power plants, with a goal of reduce greenhouse emissions up to 32% by 2030.

The review is likely to trigger legal challenges by environmental groups and some state attorneys general that could last years.

Trump has regularly promised a resurgence of mining jobs and plans to walk back many of former President Barack Obama's regulations on clean power.

It will not address several major environmental rules issued during Obama term, including an update on ozone pollution or mercury standards at power plants. In January, Interior proposed that the program guiding coal exploration and production across 570 million publicly owned acres be updated to factor in the climate effect of such activities and provide a bigger return for USA taxpayers.

"On the heels of the three hottest years on record, President Trump is reversing the biggest steps our country has taken to fighting climate change, League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said".

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board also didn't mince words when it said, President Trump is damaging the presidency "with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods". During Obama's final days in office, his team released a blueprint for overhauling the program that included the possibility of tacking a carbon fee onto coal leases or ending it altogether.

The official at one point appeared to break from mainstream climate science, denying familiarity with widely publicised concerns about the potential adverse economic impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and more extreme weather. "So Paris was just a bad deal, in my estimation".

The contents of the order were outlined to reporters in a sometimes tense briefing with a senior White House official, who aides insisted speak without attribution, despite Mr Trump's criticism of the use of unnamed sources. "The president understands there's a disagreement over the policy response and you'll see that in the order tomorrow".

Robert Murray, the founder and CEO of Murray Energy, said Trump should "temper his expectations", given the way market forces - rather than regulations - have hurt the coal industry and reduced employment.

Environmental lawyers have said they will pore over the regulatory review process in order to sue against it in the end.

Unfortunately, dismantling the Clean Power Plan is neither good for the economy nor the environment.

While some of the policies that Trump is targeting will be easy to overturn, the Clean Power Plan could prove more complicated.

  • Carolyn Briggs