Repeal of the Clean Power Plan


Dirk Ingo Franke via Wikimedia Commons

Grace Parker, Staff Contributor

Obama administration policy aimed at helping global warming proposed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in June 2014 called the Clean Power Plan. The Obama administration created the plan to lower the amount of carbon produced by generators. States are required to meet certain standards but they must reduce emissions of CO2 by their own means. Under the Obama policy, they are allowed to deal with this issue however they please as long as they meet the required levels. The plan would lead to the reduction of pollutants that contribute to smog by 25%, reduced asthma rates and an increased usage of wind power as opposed to coal.

In his 2018 United States Federal Budget, Donald Trump defunded the Clean Power Plan. He asked EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, to review the plan and question the legality of the plan. According to the New York Times, any effects of the withdrawal cannot officially begin until 2020. Without the Clean Power Plan, it may make it more difficult to meet the standards of the 2015 Paris Agreement which deals with climate control and the emission of greenhouse gases. If the US doesn’t meet its standards, it could potentially cause other countries to not follow the agreement either.

According to CNN, Donald Trump wanted to get rid as much of the EPA as he can. Pruitt is trying to fight to lower regulations of the EPA that have made costs skyrocket. Many companies have sued Pruitt because of his actions to eliminate all of these regulations on carbon emissions.

“A proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan without any timeline or even a commitment to propose a rule to reduce carbon pollution, isn’t a step forward, it’s a wholesale retreat from EPA’s legal, scientific and moral obligation to address the threats of climate change,” Gina McCarthy, Obama’s EPA administrator, said.

Many like McCarthy believe that this is a complete step backwards in the fight to obtain cleaner air and water. There have been no new proposals to limit the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases that can be emitted.

The executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, said in a CNN report that “Trump and Pruitt are are launching one of the most egregious attacks on public health and climate safety.” Many officials agree that this is not a good action by Trump and Pruitt and could causes more issues than solve any of the previous issues.

There have been issues reported by the states with the Clean Power Plan though. According to the New York Times, more than two dozen states have sued the EPA and some of the administrators because they believed some of the regulations went way beyond the current greenhouse gas laws making standards hard to meet. It has also limited the amount of coal mining jobs because the plan tries to stray away from coal energy use. In Trump’s original campaign he pledged to bring back those jobs to the citizens and to do so he must get rid of the Clean Power Plan’s strict regulations.

The US has been trying to not use coal as much anyways because they have been trying to focus more on solar, wind, and natural gases as a source of energy. With the Clean Power Plan the supplementary sources of energy are becoming more prominent because the use of coal is decreasing because of the regulations. The major downside of coal energy use is that it produces carbon emissions that put pollutants into the air essentially making it “dirtier.” The Clean Power Plan helps ensure that the air is one of the cleanest as the government can control it to be. As of right now, the Clean Power Plan is still in the process of being reviewed and repealed.

In my opinion if we remove the clean power plan that will be a bad move on the EPA’s part. It will cause the use of coal energy to increase which will put more pollutants into the air. It will also create more smog in the air. Obama worked hard to keep this policy in play to lower the amount of pollutants in the air to keep an overall cleaner environment. So if we get rid of it, it’s basically taking steps backwards in the climate control fight and the last couple years have been a waste of time with it.