Will Trump Administration Ditch Climate-Change Regs?
Friday, November 18, 2016
CHARLESTOWN, W.Va. – What will the Trump Administration do with Obama air-pollution limits designed to slow climate change? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal government has to cut greenhouse gasses, including CO2 from existing power plants, but the feds' Clean Power Plan has been stalled by court challenges about the specifics.
James Van Nostrand, a law professor and the director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University said the new administration will have a number of ways to withdraw, loosen or delay the plan.
"Even if it stays in place, the EPA would just choose not enforce it," he said. "And a lot of the U.S. commitments under the Paris agreement are really hinged on emissions reductions that we were going to achieve under the Clean Power Plan."
The coal industry has attacked the EPA's Clean Power Plan as part of what it calls a "war on coal."
Donald Trump famously tweeted that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China, although he later said that was a joke.
Walton Shepherd, a staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council said while Trump makes up his mind about the issue, climate change is speeding up. But he also noted, so is clean energy, which he called the cure for carbon pollution.
"That's not waiting, either," he said. "Wind and solar are the fastest-growing supply of electricity in the country, and there are now more people employed in solar energy than in the oil and gas or coal-mining industries."
Shepherd pointed out that clean air rules to address climate change are deeply embedded in the law, and very popular across the country. He said that's why George W. Bush could stall but not completely stop regulations to address climate change.
"That administration also tried very hard to dismantle clean-air protections," he added. "And quite simply, they abandoned their efforts in the face of public opposition."
The first clues about how the new administration will approach climate change may come when Trump announces who will head the EPA. Some have suggested he may even attempt to dismantle the agency, although that would be a radical step.
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