EPA Exit Memo Touts Costly Regulations Trump Said He’d Repeal


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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Gina McCarthy’s exit memo touts two key environmental regulations President-elect Donald Trump plans on repealing once he takes office in two weeks.

McCarthy’s memo highlights two controversial regulations being held up in federal court: the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and the Clean Water Rule.

President Barack Obama hopes these rules will be approved by the courts and cement his presidential legacy. Trump, however, has promised to repeal both these rules after he takes office Jan. 20.

“EPA has continued its strong record of protecting public health by taking commonsense steps to address climate change and significantly cut air pollution,” McCarthy wrote in an exit memo published on the White House website.

“The Clean Power Plan rests on a strong scientific and legal foundation, provides states with broad flexibilities to design and implement tailored plans, and fulfills EPA’s statutory responsibility to address carbon pollution from the largest source in our country,” McCarthy wrote.

“The Clean Water Rule will make it easier to understand which waters are protected and why,” she wrote in her exit memo. “In short, it follows one simple creed: the health of our rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters depend on the streams and wetlands where they begin.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head EPA, has joined dozens of states asking the courts to strike down both of those Obama administration regulations. Republican lawmakers have also pushed legislation targeting the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, and Trump’s energy adviser has even suggested completely rewriting the environmental laws those rules are based on.

Democratic lawmakers have pledged to block Pruitt’s nomination, but he’s likely to get Senate approval.

Pruitt joined 27 other states to file suit against the Clean Power Plan, calling it an “unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats’ authority over states’ energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity.”

The Supreme Court issued a stay against the rule in February. EPA and state lawyers made oral arguments for and against the CPP in September, and a decision should be issued in the coming months.

Pruitt joined 26 other states in 2015 in suing EPA over the Clean Water Rule, also known as the “waters of the United States” rule. A federal judge issue a stay against implementing the rule in October 2015.

Pruitt has called the “waters of the United States” rule, “the greatest blow to private property rights the modern era has seen.” EPA issued the rule in 2015 to clarify jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, but it also expanded federal control over bodies of water on private property.

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