Nineteen Democratic senators are questioning the logic and mathematics EPA Chief Scott Pruitt used to justify repealing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).
“Denying the science and fabricating the math may satisfy the agency’s paperwork requirements, but doing so will not satisfy the requirements of the law, nor will it” help address climate change, the senators wrote in a letter to Pruitt, referring to the repeal of former President Barrack Obama’s signature climate policy.
Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Minnesota’s Al Franken called the process used to nix the deal a type of “mathematical sleight of hand to over-state the costs of industry compliance.”
Obama finalized the CPP in 2015, which aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The president used the law as part of his plan to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord.
EPA says repealing the rule will save Americans $33 billion in compliance costs, while the Obama administration claimed the CPP would only cost $8.4 billion and deliver public health and climate benefits ranging from $14 to $34 billion by 2030.
Obama and Democrats used the “social costs of carbon” to justify their numbers, which represents the global benefits, most of which Americans are unlikely to see — assuming all EPA’s science and assumptions are correct.
Analysts were skeptical of this view. The Brookings Institute, for instance, addressed the issue when the rule was released.
“The use of a global social cost of carbon to estimate benefits means that agencies will adopt regulations that could cost Americans more than they receive in climate-related benefits,” Brookings scholar Ted Gayer told Congress in February.
“The estimated domestic climate benefits only amount to $2-$7 billion, which is less than EPA’s estimated compliance costs for the rule of $7.3 billion,” Gayer added.
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