President Signs Executive Order to Reevaluate Clean Power Plan

March 28, 2017 -President Trump signed an executive order to reevaluate the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule and eliminate other federal initiatives designed to address climate change.  Flanked by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Vice President Mike Pence, the President unveiled the executive order during a press event at EPA headquarters in Washington, DC. “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.  We're going to have clean coal -- really clean coal.  With today’s executive action, I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations,” Trump said. Among the order’s many provisions, it targets Obama Administration limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, instructing EPA to reevaluate the CPP and new source performance standards for oil and natural gas-fired power plants.  The order further authorizes the Department of Justice to request, as appropriate, that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit suspend legal challenges to both rules as EPA takes action to withdraw or revise them.  EPA’s methane regulations for new sources in the oil and gas sector, finalized in June 2016, are also targeted for a rewrite or withdrawal by the order.  Additional sections of the order address policies finalized by the Department of the Interior.  It immediately lifts a moratorium on new coal mine leases on federal lands and targets for review and possible withdrawal rules that regulate hydraulic fracturing, govern oil and gas rights and reduce waste from extraction activities. The order includes broad directives to change how federal agencies account for climate change in their decision-making process by prohibiting federal regulators from using the social cost of carbon and other greenhouse gasses (GHGs) to assess the benefits of future regulations and disbanding the Interagency Working Group used to develop previous social cost assessments.  It immediately rescinds the 2016 guidance incorporating GHG impacts into National Environmental Policy Act reviews.  Further, the order directs all federal agencies to examine their existing policies and suspend, revise or rescind any that interfere with domestic energy production. The order, however, does not address EPA’s 2009 finding that greenhouse gasses endanger public health and welfare, nor does it address the U.S. commitment to and participation in the Paris Agreement.