Despite EPA Actions, Obama’s Climate Agenda ‘Has Not Been Fully Dismantled Yet’
While Republicans and industry groups cheer the Trump administration’s repealing of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), conservative policy experts say there’s still more to do.
The federal government is full of programs and offices dedicated to pushing global warming policies, according to Myron Ebell, the director of energy and global warming policy at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, is still deciding what to do with Obama-era fuel efficiency standards and a rule on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
The EPA also has to address carbon dioxide regulations on new power plants. This rule effectively bans new coal-fired power plants from being built.
“Unraveling the CPP is big but just as important is reversing the climate regulations on new power plants,” Nick Loris, an energy economist at the Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) still operates more than two dozen science centers dubbed the “cornerstone” of the agency’s “climate change response strategy” during the Obama administration.
The DOI is also struggling to repeal its own methane rule, and the Energy Department has to deal with energy efficiency regulations for appliances and the numerous other programs to promote solar and wind energy.
The Energy Department still operates the green energy loan program that was so derided during the Obama years. Officials recently gave $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to a Georgia nuclear plant.
The Trump administration has made progress on repealing Obama administration environmental policies, with The New York Times reporting that 25 policies have been overturned while another 19 are being undone.
Trump also intends to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. President Barack Obama saw the CPP as the main tool to meet the Paris accord’s goal.
“His climate agenda has not been fully dismantled yet. Climate programs and offices still exist in many departments and agencies,” Ebell, who headed the EPA transition team last fall, told TheDCNF.
And even with the CPP repealed, the EPA is legally bound to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. That is, unless the agency to review the 2009 endangerment finding is undone.
“While it’s not necessarily a policy or regulation, the elephant in the room is the endangerment finding,” Loris said.
The EPA found in 2009 that greenhouse gas emissions are a threat to human health because they cause global warming. That finding gave the EPA the legal pretext for its global warming regulatory spree.
“The legal challenges and the endangerment finding looming around make it all the more important for Congress to act and prohibit the federal government from regulating GHGs,” Loris said.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt could also review the endangerment finding, opening it up to new scrutiny. Two conservative groups have filed petitions with the EPA to reconsider the endangerment finding. CEI is one of those groups.
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