EPA’s Clean Power Plan dead or are better days ahead?

On Jun. 5, 2014 I penned the “EPA has plan to lower emissions, raise energy efficiency, save money” post.

In this I wrote: “In its news release, titled: ‘EPA Proposes First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants/Clean Power Plan is flexible proposal to ensure a healthier environment, spur innovation and strengthen the economy,’ the federal regulatory agency expressed, ‘At the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is today releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Today’s proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.’”

Then on Aug. 10, 2015 I published the post here at the Air Quality Matters blog: “Clean Power Plan a noble idea, its implementation anything but guaranteed.”

In it, I offered:

“By now you’ve probably heard at least something about CPP. Well, here is more about the plan itself.

“‘President Obama announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan today, which will cut U.S. carbon pollution from the power sector by 870 million tons, or 32 percent below 2005 levels, in 2030,’ the EPA in its Aug. 3, 2015 news release ‘Obama Administration Takes Historic Action on Climate Change/Clean Power Plan to protect public health, spur clean energy investments and strengthen U.S. leadership,’ wrote. ‘Power plants are the largest drivers of climate change in the United States, accounting for roughly one-third of all carbon pollution emissions, but there were no national limits on carbon pollution until today.’

“‘The Clean Power Plan accelerates the transition to a clean energy future, which is happening even faster than expected—which means carbon and air pollution are already decreasing, improving public health year by year. By 2030, the plan will cut carbon pollution from the power sector by nearly a third and additional reductions will come from pollutants that can create dangerous soot and smog, translating to significant health benefits for the American people. By 2030, emissions of sulfur dioxide from power plants will be 90 percent lower and emissions of nitrogen oxides will be 72 percent lower, compared to 2005 levels. Americans will avoid up to 90,000 asthma attacks and spend up to 300,000 more days in the office or the classroom, instead of sick at home. And up to 3,600 families will be spared the grief of losing a loved one too soon.’”

“Remember, that is if the plan passes legal muster.”

Then, just three days later, in “The Clean Power Plan: Boom or bust?” I cautioned: “As detailed somewhat in the ‘Clean Power Plan a noble idea, its implementation anything but guaranteed’ post of Aug. 10th, as for the CPP being a sure thing, at this early stage it is anything but.”

Well, here it is Oct. 11, 2017 and regarding the Clean Power Plan all that glitters is not gold, and by that I mean the current head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, appears to have his own plan and I can tell you what it isn’t, that is, to keep this prodigious environmental program in effect – the EPA Administrator is aiming to undo what was the hard work of many required to get the CPP put in place.

In The Daily Kos, Meteor Blades on Oct. 10, 2017 published: “EPA chief to sign proposed rule killing Clean Power Plan today, making way for his Dirty Power Plan.”

That title just about sums it all, doesn’t it?

Anyway, here is some of what Blades had to say:

“Ignoring the future of the planet, the health of the people, and the job growth potential of renewable energy, Environmental Protection Agency-hating EPA chief Scott Pruitt will sign a draft rule Tuesday repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP)  that was designed by the Obama administration to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants. Pruitt, a climate-science denier, has been—as attorney general of Oklahoma—a leading foe of the CPP even before it was finalized.

“Replacing the CPP would be what David Doniger at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) quite rightly labels the ‘Dirty Power Plan.’ A plan that will maim and kill people, undermine economic potential, and continue a longstanding assault on the environment.”

On that Mr. Pruitt apparently doesn’t see things quite the same. Blades continues:

Bituminous coal

“In Pruitt’s announcement delivered Monday in eastern Kentucky—once one of the nation’s leading extractors of coal and now a region with 20 of the nation’s 100 most impoverished counties—he declared, ‘The war on coal is over.’ That’s a soundbite designed to persuade Americans, particularly the ever-dwindling number of coal miners, that the CPP repeal is all about jobs.”

If there is anything positive to report about Mr. Pruitt’s actions it is that, according to Blades, there are states, both Democratic and Republican, Oklahoma included, that are fighting back by advancing carbon-pollution-reduction measures and furthering their energy portfolios. We’re talking exploitation of sources of renewables such as solar and wind power.

For America, will it be the energy dark ages? If I have a say, I look forward to the Clean Power Plan remaining in force. If so, I can see a follow-up article with the potential title: “Clean Power Plan remains in effect, EPA head’s attempt at dismantling foiled.” That would be the ideal.

Relatedly, airing on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) this evening is the Frontline episode: “War on the EPA.” The program airs at 10 p.m.

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