Leaked Docs Lay Out EPA’s Plans For Repealing Obama’s Signature Global Warming Rule

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

The Trump administration will argue repealing the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s global warming agenda will lift a $33 billion regulatory burden off the U.S. power sector, according to leaked documents.

In the coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will propose repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and solicit public comment for what should replace it, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg.

The document doesn’t lay out a plan to propose a replacement to the CPP, which the Obama administration relied on to build support for the Paris climate accord. A coalition of states, businesses and unions sued to have the regulation struck down shortly after it was proposed in 2015.

EPA will argue the CPP is not only illegal, but would cost $33 billion to comply with. EPA used a different calculation for the “social cost of carbon” metric to generate a new cost-benefit analysis

The document says the CPP will still yield “$18.8 billion in energy efficiency benefits in 2030 and $500 million in unrealized climate benefits,” Bloomberg reported.

“The Clean Power Plan departed from this practice by instead setting carbon dioxide emission guidelines for existing power plants that can only realistically be effected by measures that cannot be employed to, for, or at a particular source,” reads the EPA document.

“The Obama administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far that the Supreme Court issued a stay — the first in history — to prevent the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ from taking effect,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told Bloomberg.

“Any replacement rule that the Trump administration proposes will be done carefully and properly within the confines of the law,” she said.

Environmentalists have already promised to file legal challenges against EPA to overturn any proposal they put forward. The Trump administration has been meeting with various stakeholders for months on possible CPP replacements.

The CPP aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and limit emissions from newly built plants as part of President Barack Obama’s commitment to the Paris climate accord.

The Obama administration pegged the CPP’s cost at $8.4 billion, but the public health and “climate” benefits were pegged as high as $54 billion.

Experts have quibbled over the Obama administration’s use of the “social cost of carbon” metric to justify the CPP, which was expected to force more coal-fired power plants to retire and shift the sector to be more natural gas and green energy-reliant.

The Obama EPA claimed the CPP would yield $30 billion in “climate benefits” by 2030 resulting from reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

That was a controversial claim, and a working paper by the liberal Brookings Institution the EPA “shifted to a worldwide benefits approach, leading to a substantial increase in the estimated benefits.”

Basically, EPA counted the global benefits of reducing carbon dioxide as benefits enjoyed exclusively by Americans. Brookings fellows used a more traditional cost-benefit metric and found only $2 billion and $7 billion in climate benefits.

That means the Obama EPA inflated the CPP’s benefits between 4-fold and 15-fold.

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