The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday he would sign a proposed rule on Tuesday to begin withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama's centerpiece regulation to fight climate change. The Clean power plant policy was implemented in 2015, and its goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of America to 2005 level until 2030.
The leaked document casts doubts on those numbers and says the EPA plans to perform updated modeling and analysis of health benefits and other impacts of the rule. The past administration [was] using every bit of power and authority to use the EPA to pick winners and losers and how we generate electricity in this country.
On Thursday, Trump nominated former coal-industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to serve as Pruitt's top deputy at EPA - one of several recent political appointees at the agency with direct ties to the fossil fuel interests.
The Trump administration will put forward this argument to allege the Clean Power Plan violates the law, Bloomberg News reported.
Watch Pruitt's announcement below, via Fox News.
However, the Clean Power Plan has essentially been on hold since February 2016, when the US Supreme Court halted its implementation until courts could decide whether it was legally valid.
Trump, Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry deny the consensus among climate scientists that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity are the primary cause of global warming. He said ending the plan would take pressure off some cash-strapped utilities that still relied on coal-fired power plants. Pruitt, who has extensive ties to the oil and gas industries, opposed this particular piece of environmental regulation since his time as attorney general in Oklahoma, where he participated in a lawsuit against it. The rule was a key component of the nation's broader emissions-reduction pledge under the Paris climate accord, which President Trump exited this summer.
The EPA said it has not yet determined whether or when it will propose a new rule to regulate emissions from existing power plants.
The EPA won't prescribe an immediate replacement to the plan, but will seek public comment on whether to curb climate-warming emissions from coal and natural gas power plants.
"Under the interpretation proposed in this notice, the CPP (Clean Power Plan) exceeds the EPA's statutory authority and would be repealed", wrote a copy of the the leaked proposal obtained by the United States media.