Electric power plant outside Ithaca, New YorkEnlarge Photo
Donald Trump's White House appears to be readying another of its next big climate change overhauls, and like many of the administration's plans, it will weaken or eliminate regulations on industry.
Specifically, President Trump touted the undoing of the Clean Power Plan at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, which foreshadowed a formal announcement coming this week.
The Clean Power Act was former President Obama's landmark plan for climate change, which aimed to cut emissions of the climate-change gas carbon dioxide from utilities' electric generation by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
To justify eliminating the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency will reportedly work to alter its previous analysis, producing new numbers that show its cost outweighs the benefits, per Scientific American.
When President Obama signed it into law in 2015, the EPA calculated for every $1 spent to comply with the greener standards, the public would receive $6 in benefits—largely through a reduction in premature deaths and the medical costs of asthma.
The Trump administration is reportedly readying a new analysis of the legislation to convince the public and the courts that striking it down, or scaling it back, will be good for the U.S. economy.
Power plantEnlarge Photo
Those familiar with the process expect the new analysis to show much higher costs to achieve compliance with the standards.
Those would be coupled with reduced value placed on the benefits—which would effectively neuter the plan.
“I expect them to use fuzzy math, for sure, to lower the benefits and increase the costs,” said Alison Cassady, director of energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress.
It's likely the administration will exploit a study completed shortly after the law's issuance that purported to show President Obama's administration underestimated its costs.
The study claimed costs would range from $29 billion to $39 billion between 2022 and 2033, much higher than the $8.4 billion figure touted by the Obama administration.
However, it's worth noting the study was prepared for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a lobbying group for the shrinking coal industry.
Natural gas flaring from oil well [licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user Sirdle]
Natural gas flaring from oil well [licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user Sirdle]Enlarge Photo
The Trump administration may also paint the social cost of carbon in an uncertain light, though, such arguments have been struck down in court before.
Whichever route the administration chooses, it will undoubtedly be challenged in court.
Earlier this year, a U.S. Senate budget panel rejected a previous White House call to defund clean energy—and it actually boosted that funding instead.
The rollback proposal is expected this week, ahead of an October 7, 2017, deadline that requires the EPA to update a federal appeals court on its plans.
President Trump referred specifically to his administration's plans for Obama's climate-change reduction effort at a rally last Friday night: "Boom, it's gone."
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