POWER PLAN HUB

States brawl over EPA rule's future

States divided over U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan are sparring about how easy it will be for President-elect Donald Trump to rescind the power-sector climate regulation.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia wrote to Trump last week urging him not to fight the rule, saying it "builds on successful strategies that states, local governments and the power sector have used to cost effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants."

Responding to a Dec. 14, 2016, letter from 24 of the state attorneys general challenging the regulation, the EPA-supporting states said it won't be so simple to unravel the Clean Power Plan.

The suing states had asked Trump to pursue several strategies to nix the rule, including withdrawing it from court consideration and issuing an executive order prohibiting EPA from enforcing state carbon standards (E&E News PM, Dec. 15, 2016).

"To be plain, disagreements over the legality of the Clean Power Plan (or any similar rule) will have to be resolved by the judiciary one way or another," the supporting states said.

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They contend that any executive order against the rule will not stand up in court.

Congress will soon begin high-profile confirmation hearings for Trump's Cabinet picks, who could have a hand in undoing regulations and determining U.S. international dealings on climate change. Democrats have promised to put up a fight against both Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson and EPA choice Scott Pruitt, according to The Washington Post. They have little hope of stopping the nominations but may be able to draw out the process and garner public attention.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a two-part hearing with Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corp.'s chief executive, on Jan. 11. Democrats will press him on his business dealings with Russia and demand that he release his tax returns, the Post reported.

Read more about Tillerson and Pruitt here and here.

In case you missed it

  • Last year's climate progress may not survive 2017 (Climatewire, Dec. 23, 2016).
  • Trump could be in a position to reshape U.S. environmental law (Greenwire, Dec. 19, 2016).
  • Power companies see no change in their trajectory under Trump (Energywire, Dec. 19, 2016).
  • Opponents of EPA's standards for new power plants are seeking a court delay while they wait to see what Trump does (Greenwire, Dec. 19, 2016).
  • Californians distressed by Trump's win want the state's climate leadership to be an avenue to assert independence from the federal government (Climatewire, Dec. 19, 2016).
  • The Republican governor of Massachusetts released a proposal to curb greenhouse gases (Climatewire, Dec. 21, 2016).
  • EPA stopped working on its carbon trading guidance for the Clean Power Plan but released the draft so far (Greenwire, Dec. 19, 2016).
  • Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Trump's pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget, could slash the federal workforce (Greenwire, Dec. 19, 2016).
For questions or comments about E&E’s Power Plan Hub or related stories, please email staff reporters Emily Holden and Rod Kuckro at PowerPlanHub@eenews.net.

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