Trump Can Immediately Repeal These Obama Energy Policies
President Trump expects to sign up to 200 executive orders Monday, following the first tranche of orders he signed over the weekend.
Turning from Obamacare and mortgage deductions, Trump at some point in his first week in office will begin to implement his “America First Energy Plan.”
Trump plans to eliminate restrictions on U.S. energy production, mainly through dismantling President Obama’s so called “Climate Action Plan” and the “Waters of the U.S.” rule. The White House says repealing these rules will boost wages “more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.”
But that’s only the beginning. Trump is likely use more executive actions to rollback many Obama-era environmental policies.
Here are some of the major executive actions Trump is expected to take:
Repeal EPA Regulations
Trump promised to eliminate Obama’s “the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule” once in office. He’ll likely need Congress, or the courts, to fully repeal Obama’s agenda, but he can issue executive orders effectively nullifying key policies.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) is the cornerstone of Obama’s global warming policies, and is expected to further cripple the coal industry. Coal-fired power plants that don’t meet strict CO2 limits will be shut down under the CPP, and new coal plants can’t be built unless they use CO2 capture technology.
Constitutional attorneys and CPP opponents David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman argued Trump can “adopt a new energy policy that respects the states’ role in regulating energy markets and that prioritizes making electricity affordable and reliable.”
That executive “order should direct the EPA to cease all efforts to enforce and implement the Clean Power Plan,” Rivkin and Grossman wrote in a November op-ed. “The agency would then extend all of the regulation’s deadlines, enter an administrative stay and commence regulatory proceedings to rescind the previous order.”
Trump could do something similar for the EPA’s “Waters of the U.S. rule” (WOTUS), which, like the CPP, is being challenged by dozens of states in federal court over worries it further extends federal control over state and private property.
Pull Out Of The Paris Accords
Obama officially signed onto a United Nations agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions last year, called the Paris accords. The former president pledged the U.S. would cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Obama never brought the Paris accords before Congress, however, and instead his administration called it a non-legally binding executive agreement. That means Trump can tear up the agreement all on his own.
Trump promised to pull out of the accords on the campaign trail, later doubling down with a pledge to eliminate “billions in global warming payments to the United Nations” and spend that money in the U.S. instead.
Though not in full agreement, Trump’s administration seem to share his views on the Paris accords. Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, said the U.S. should keep a seat at the table regarding Paris. But it remains to be seen, if confirmed, he pushes this view with Trump.
Open Up Federal Lands
Trump is also likely to unilaterally reverse Obama administration policies to keep vast swaths of federal lands off-limits to mining and drilling.
Trump is expected to order the Department of the Interior to lift a moratorium placed on new coal mines instituted under Obama last year, according to Bloomberg. The Obama administration temporarily banned new coal mines to consider ways to increase mining costs on federal lands.
The former administration said it was to get taxpayer a fair return on mines on public lands.
Trump could also reverse the Obama administration’s taking Arctic and Atlantic ocean offshore lease sales out of the latest five-year offshore drilling plan, as well as an Obama order “permanently” making portions of those same seas off-limits.
Undo National Monuments
Republican lawmakers have also urged Trump to undo national monuments created by Obama through executive order.
Obama used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate more than 550 million acres of federal lands and waters as national monuments. Such a designation makes it much harder to ranch, mine or drill on federal lands. Locals often oppose monument designations since they severely limit economic activity.
No president has ever reversed a predecessor’s monument designation, so there is some legal uncertainty — though presidents have modified past designations.
Obama, for example, expanded monuments created by President George W. Bush.
Update The Endangerment Finding
Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” is supported by a 2009 EPA report claiming greenhouse gases threatened public health by warming Earth’s temperature. This “endangerment finding” imposes major regulations on vehicles and power plants.
Trump’s EPA could update the 2009 endangerment finding to incorporate more recent scientific work, and take a more skeptical view of global warming.
Recent evidence suggests climate models over-predicted global warming for the past six decades, and that there’s been little link between warming and a long-term increase in extreme weather.
Social Benefits Of Carbon?
Trump is expected to order the White House Office of Management and Budget to suspend the so-called “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimate, according to Bloomberg. The Obama administration created the SCC to put a monetary figure on the costs of emitting CO2.
The SCC is the linchpin to Obama’s climate agenda, used by regulators to claim massive financial benefits from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, cars, appliances and even oil wells.
Trump can also repeal a White House Council on Environmental Quality 2016 guidance on how federal agencies should consider global warming when reviewing projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Republicans argued the guidance would only make it harder for any sort of development to go through and give environmentalists another avenue to sue federal agencies to kill projects they don’t like.
Trump wants to repeal a 1968 executive order giving the Department of State authority to approve pipelines that cross an international border. Basically, this is a way to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Obama declined to give TransCanada, the company building Keystone XL, the necessary permit they needed to complete the pipeline in 2015. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry agreed that approving the project would damage the U.S. image as a fighter of global warming.
Trump could also have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approve the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Corps initially approved the oil pipeline in summer, 2016, but then declined to issue the project the easement it needed to cross a federally-owned lake after environmentalists and American Indians protested it for months.
Trump told Fox News in December he would have the issue “solved very quickly” once he took office.
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