EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced to a crowd of coal supporters in Hazard, Kentucky, that the EPA will take formal steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan. He also mentioned he would get rid of solar and wind federal tax credits, but acknowledged that move would be up to Congress and not the EPA, according to The Hill.
According to The New York Times, Pruitt framed the announcement by saying, “The war on coal is over.” However, even loosening regulations is unlikely to “save” coal—states are moving toward natural gas and renewables anyway due to costs and consumer demand for renewable options. Cities, states and businesses across the country have set renewable energy goals that utilities are helping to meet.
The process of getting rid of the Clean Power Plan is a long one: According to NPR’s StateImpact, once the EPA submits its proposal, it goes through a public comment period before it can be revoked. Then, it will likely be replaced with a more modest plan by the EPA.
Dan Whitten, SEIA’s vice president of communications, issued the following statement:
“We have been clear that we oppose repeal of the Clean Power Plan. The tide is already turning toward a clean energy future, so much so, that many utilities have moved past old traditional power plants. And building new ones is cost prohibitive. The Department of Energy’s own grid reliability study concludes that market forces are what’s closing coal plants, which explains our progress on emissions reductions to date. We look forward to working with the administration to ensure that there is a resilient, dependable and affordable power system in America, and we know that solar can and should play a growing role in that equation.”
“As to the comments on removing federal incentives, we have already been tax reformed. There was broad bipartisan agreement for continuing the investment tax credit, with a phasedown. That consensus is stronger today than it was in December 2015, when that deal was struck.”
The American Coal Council issued a statement in support of the repeal:
“The Clean Power Plan was an ill-conceived regulation, unprecedented in scope and reach. It attempted to thrust EPA into the role of energy regulator. It would have dramatically transformed how electricity is produced and distributed in the U.S. Economic harm impacting far more than the coal sector would have been the result, including double-digit electricity cost increases for families and businesses.”
Earthjustice addressed the irony of rolling back regulations on carbon while the country is dealing with multiple natural disasters:
“As millions of Americans are trying to recover from devastating hurricanes and wildfires, the Trump Administration is trying to dismantle our country’s most important measures to combat climate change and attack the health benefits associated with them. It is an alarming failure of leadership and a profound affront to every person suffering in the wake of unprecedented disasters.”
Advanced Energy Economy also sent out a statement of disappointment:
“We are disappointed by today’s proposal to withdraw the Clean Power Plan and restart the regulatory process from scratch,” said Matt Stanberry, vice president, market development at Advanced Energy Economy. “The Clean Power Plan rightly treated the electric power system as a system—including power generators, end users, and a range of technologies and systems in between—rather than simply a collection of power plants. This system approach sought emission reductions where they were cheapest. As advanced energy technologies and services provide many of the most cost-effective solutions, the market-based compliance mechanism under the rule represented a $20 billion a year market opportunity for our industry, which currently generates $200 billion in U.S. revenue annually and supports more than 3 million U.S. jobs.”
Twitter users also reacted quickly to Pruitt’s announcement:
If the Clean Power Plan is repealed, we’ll take the EPA to court. https://t.co/1WGIUuNPWH
— NRDC (@NRDC) October 9, 2017
— Ben Wessel (@BenWessel) October 10, 2017
The EPA can repeal the Clean Power Plan but not the laws of economics. This won’t revive coal or stop the US from reaching our Paris goal.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) October 9, 2017
Updated at 11:53 am with Advanced Energy Economy’s statement, and at 1:35 pm with SEIA’s statement.